HEYBURN — In the tenth grade, Coriandra Lang dropped out of high school to have a baby.
Today Lang, now 17, graduated on time as salutatorian along with 38 of her classmates from Mt. Harrison Junior/Senior High School last week.
Instead of being the reason she did not complete her education, her daughter, Aria Lang, now 2, became her reason to want to go back to school. She not only excelled academically, but became a role-model for other students.
“I wanted to go back because I didn’t want my daughter to look at her birth as having a negative impact on my life,” Lang said. “I wanted her to see that it did not stop me from doing what I wanted to do.”
Going back to school, she said, was scary and challenging and many days were filled with tiredness, stress and anxiety.
Lang’s mother, Cheri Pelton, supported her and offered financial assistance as she finished high school.
“My mom has been my number one supporter,” Lang said.
Teacher Travis Kent said Lang would always go out of her way to tutor other students.
“She would help everyone even the students that other students might be cruel to, she would always be helpful and kind to them, he said.
Lang would often take the lead on projects, he said, but not in an overbearing way.
“Like most successful students, she always knew the way forward if she struggled and she knew what to do to improve the situation and be successful,’ he said.
Teacher Janell Dallolio said Lang always appeared happy at school, in spite of being overwhelmingly tired at times from juggling high school with motherhood.
She was a diligent student and he kind of person that brings people together rather than setting them apart, Dallolio said.
Lang won several scholarships “that will basically pay for everything” as she enrolls this fall at the College of Southern Idaho in the bakery and pastry program.
“I love to bake, especially cakes,” she said.
She also enjoys creative writing, speech and the sciences.
As a mother, Lang opted to take Aria to the school daycare so she could interact with her during her breaks from class.
Teacher Amber Curtis Thompson said Lang is an “amazing” student and mother.
“She never used Aria as an excuse to get out of class or for not doing something,” Thompson said.
Thompson said Lang also excelled in motivating other students.
“She’s been a great motivator to me this year and to graduate with her is an honor,” classmate Alex Pena said. “She was always helpful and there for me and she would push me to get things done. I’m really proud of her and can’t wait to see what she does in the future.”
Lang was a good student with good attendance, Principal Kelly Arritt said.
“She stayed with it and that’s not easy. It’s challenging when you have a child, but it hasn’t slowed her down and we’re proud of her.”
“I wanted to go back because I didn’t want my daughter to look at her birth as having a negative impact on my life. I wanted her to see that it did not stop me from doing what I wanted to do.” Coriandra Lang