Brooke Ronk was about 4 years old when her parents split up. Since then, she and her mother have bounced around, living with relatives or at a hotel. They finally had their own home in Dallas. But then she discovered her mother’s drug problem. Ronk dropped out of high school. Three months later, the 18-year-old enrolled at the Lewisville Learning Center. She’s graduating from high school this summer and wants to become a forensic psychologist. She lives with her sister in The Colony.
A year ago, when my mom and I had been living in an apartment on our own, she had started up drug use. Things got really rough. I could see my mom going downhill. She pretty much lost everything we had owned all together, and I always ended up trying to have to find a place.
My mom is the one who actually took me away from school and decided that I wouldn’t be able to get back into high school. I didn’t think I would graduate; I didn’t think I would have a good job. I thought everything was disappearing. It was a really difficult time. It kind of hurt a lot being unenrolled, not knowing what was going to happen next or who I was going to be around.
I started going to the Lewisville Learning Center the day that I turned 18. It was actually a really great thing; it was nice to start school again. I was still having issues finding where to live when I started at the Learning Center. It was iffy about where I was staying; it would either be at my sister’s house or between friends from Lewisville across from where the school is.
I did have a lot of anxiety problems whenever I couldn’t figure out where I was going to stay on certain nights or how I was going to be getting to school or if I would even being going home that night—to a home—and I always had to come up with something—like make 1,000 phone calls, any family that I could stay with possibly.
Knowing that I’m going through school now and going to get a diploma is really calming, knowing that I’m probably going to be able to get in a better place. After all that’s happened with my mom, I still want to help her because she’s my mom, and no matter what, she’s always going to be my mom.
I can’t push her out of my life even though she had tried to push me and my sister out of hers. It’s nice knowing that’s she’s going to have someone there.
Read the entire Homeless in High School series here.