Note from The Ashley: This story is the first in a series of ‘Life After 16 & Pregnant’ stories. The Ashley has been working on this project for a while and is very proud to share it with her readers. Cleondra’s strength and maturity impressed The Ashley so much that it was only fitting that the first story be written about her.
Be on the lookout for the next story in the series, and please share if you’ve enjoyed it.
It’s been two months since MTV viewers met Mississippi teen mother Cleondra Carter, and nearly a year since her life and pregnancy were filmed for the controversial MTV show “16 & Pregnant.”
As one of 10 girls featured on the show’s third season, Cleondra, now 18, has had to deal with her share of criticism for doing the show and getting pregnant at such a young age; however, the young mom has been so busy trying to succeed she’s hardly had time to notice.
Last Monday was a proud day for the Horn Lake native: it was her first day of college. She’s taking classes to become a nurse.
“I beat the statistics” she told the more than 5,000 fans she has on her Facebook fan page.
Cleondra has a lot to be proud of: only 40 percent of teen moms who give birth before age 18 finish high school, according to research compiled by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Far fewer ever make it to a college campus.
“I graduated high school [this spring] on the honor roll,” Cleondra said. “[I was an] ‘A’ and ‘B’ student.”
Viewers of ’16 & Pregnant’ watched as Cleondra and her boyfriend, Mario Escovedo, 18, struggled to adjust to teen parenthood, while also dealing with the stresses of school, a sometimes tumultuous home life and trying to maintain their relationship. After their daughter, Kylee, was born on November 29, 2010, Cleondra and Mario struggled to keep their relationship together.
“Mario and I are still together,” she said. “It was rocky but we just had to figure out how to juggle each other and Kylee with us both working full-time jobs, but we’re good now.”