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Woman graduates despite trials

Submitted photo: Amanda Kuperus recently received her diploma from Fairmont High School after years of determination and with the help from her team of supporters. From left: Deb Heinrich, Melinda Chambers, Kuperus and Cheryl Hamp.

FAIRMONT — Amanda Kuperus has recently graduated from Fairmont Area Schools after a rocky path that showed her determination and perseverance.

Kuperus, 20, attended Fairmont Area Schools all throughout her school career. During her junior year in 2018, she became pregnant and was later put on bedrest in November.

The school worked with Kuperus and retired school teacher and former cheerleading coach, Deb Heinrich, who would become Kuperus’s homebound instructor.

“She was a cheerleader and I connected with her then and we got to know each other,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich went on to explain that with homebound instruction, she was allowed an hour a day to work with Kuperus in order to get her the credits she needed during that time.

“We worked with all of her teachers at the high school,” Heinrich explained.

Once her daughter, Eliana, was born in January 2019, Kuperus briefly switched to online school through Insight.

However, her daughter started having some medical issues so Kuperus stopped instruction altogether in order to take care of her. Kuperus said once her daughter was better, she was determined to continue working on her education.

“Melinda Chambers and Cheryl Hamp were instrumental in helping us get her what she needed,” Heinrich said of the district’s special education teacher and coordinator.

While it took longer than it traditionally does, by November of 2020, Kuperus got all of the credits she needed to graduate. She had to wait until the official commencement ceremony last weekend to obtain her diploma.

“I’m so happy. I’m so glad to finally be done,” Kuperus said.

However, Kuperus’s work did not stop when she finished her schooling. She got a full-time job as a care provider at Ingleside in December of 2020.

A need for independence gave her the desire to work toward her driver’s permit and then license, which she got in January of this year.

“We had to do all of that online because of covid,” Heinrich explained.

Kuperus has found enjoyment in her job and now knows that she would like to go on to become a Certified Nursing Assistant and eventually a Registered Nurse.

Reflecting on everything she went through, Kuperus said, “Before I was always down and I had so much on my plate I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Now that I’ve had help and a push, I’m happy with where I’m at.”

Kuperus is also determined to be a positive role model for her daughter.

“I don’t want my daughter to feel like I dropped out because of her, or drop out because I had,” Kuperus explained.

Heinrich said she’s appreciated all of the adults who have rallied behind Kuperus.

“She needed a little bit of a push and some encouragement. The school was very supportive,” Heinrich said.

Heinrich stressed that you can always get further with an education or certification and Kuperus pointed out that there are many opportunities now for scholarships or money available for furthering your education through workplaces.

Kuperus said if she were to give advice to someone in a difficult situation, she would say,” There’s no point in giving up. If you put your mind to it, you can go quite a ways.”

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