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  • Ellie Helstein, 17, graduated from ConVal on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Helstein dropped out of school in early 2016, found out she was pregnant in August, and re-enrolled in school.  Courtesy photo —

  • Ellie  Helstein, 17, graduated from ConVal on Saturday, June 17, 2017. Helstein dropped out of school in early 2016, found out she was pregnant in August, and re-enrolled in school.  Courtesy photo—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, June 20, 2017

During the spring of her junior year in high school, Ellie Helstein dropped out of high school.

“I was really immature,” Helstein, who is now 17, said about the decision. “I already had a job, a car and a license and I didn’t think I needed to finish.”

Helstein’s mom Heather Eastman said she didn’t want her daughter to drop out of school. But she couldn’t do much about it once her mind was made up.

“[Helstein] just felt like she was having a hard time, it was a struggle,” Eastman said. “It was hard to focus in class and it just wasn’t working for her.”

In August of that year, Helstein got pregnant.

Soon after Helstein found out that she was going to be a mom, she re-enrolled in school.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to do something good for her (the baby),” Helstein said. “I knew I wasn’t ever going to get a good job without a diploma.”

She took online courses in addition to regular high school classes to catch up. She said she took a total of 12 credits this past school year. Even though she was determined to finish, it was still difficult. 

During the year, doctors said she had a condition called preeclampsia, which caused her to experience fierce headaches.

“I mean it got really hard,” she said about the pregnancy.

On April 18, Helstein gave birth to her daughter, Lila.

She took about a week off from school and then jumped right back into her studies.

On Saturday, Helstein walked at graduation.

Helstein said the diploma means more to her because she struggled for it.

“[Helstein] kept her chin up and she showed everyone what she was made out of,” Eastman said. “She was going to school, taking online courses, and was working part-time. And then after she had the baby she was still working, and going to school and taking online courses. She did a lot.”

Lila is only a few months old, but she’s already altered the course of Helstein’s life.

“I don’t know where my life would be right now without her,” Helstein said.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234