During her sophomore year of high school, Leslie Belmontes found out she was pregnant.
Not feeling like she could continue at her traditional high school, Northglenn High, Belmontes transferred to New American School in Thornton for her junior year. She thought the non-traditional school would be a better choice for her to continue her education while she prepared to become a mother.
But after giving birth to her son, Aaron, during winter break, a lack of support from school staff, babysitting needs and additional medical attention for her son, who was diagnosed with Down syndrome and a heart murmur, made Belmontes feel that she couldn’t go to school anymore.
She became part of the 90 percent of pregnant and parenting teens to drop out of school, according to the National Dropout Prevention Center.