Elaura Dalton’s favorite poem is “The Road Not Taken” by American poet Robert Frost.
The teenage mom says that every day, she reflects on the last three lines of the poem:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
“Considering the fact that there aren’t many teen moms in our school district, I took the road less traveled,” says the 17-year-old. “Becoming a mom this soon is not what I had planned. My life is totally opposite of what I had imagined.”
In August 2021, Elaura gave birth to her son two weeks before starting her senior year. The child’s father, whom she had dated for four years, tragically passed away in October.
In December, the new mom graduated from Cumberland Academy 6-12 Virtual School with a 3.9 GPA.
“I am most proud of raising my son despite the many challenges that arose after he was born,” says Elaura. “Having a child at a young age is very difficult and often frowned upon. However, after my boyfriend and baby’s father died, things became more difficult. But despite this, I keep going and keep moving. And I would tell an incoming freshman to make school your first priority and stay on your game.”
Elaura’s school counselor, Melissa Matthews, and school social worker Sheila Campbell have been there to guide her high school career and help her “navigate the waters of motherhood.”
Elaura credits both women with pushing her toward success.
“There have been several instances where I’ve wanted to give up because of how overwhelmed I am,” says Elaura. “But Ms. Matthews and Ms. Campbell kept pushing me to keep going.”
In the fall, she will attend Wingate University on a full scholarship. Based on her childbirthing experience, Elaura said she plans to become a labor and delivery nurse and advocate for other teen moms to motivate them to keep going – a goal many are confident she will achieve.
“Elaura didn’t let these difficult life events stop her from pushing forward every day so she can provide a good life for her son,” says Matthews, a longtime educator. “Elaura is one of the most resilient and determined students
Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories about the Standout Seniors of 2022 as selected by Cumberland County Schools.