MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Unlike Richie Lynch, the father we'll meet next wasn't trying to become a dad. Dameion Agee has a one-year-old daughter, Crystal. He's also about to graduate from Cardozo Senior High in northwest D.C. and being college. Emily Berman brings us his story.
MS. EMILY BERMAN
Dameion Agee met Diamond Fields in seventh grade.
MR. DAMEION AGEE
I still remember the first day I saw her. I asked my friends, I say, "Who is that?" And she's known as Diamond. I said, "Diamond?" I said, "Wow." So I remember one day I asked her to be my girlfriend and she said yes. And I was happy.
They became best friends, and were together for four years, when Diamond called Dameion and told him she was pregnant.
That was a surprise when she told me. Like, 101 questions came up to my head.
Questions like how would a baby change his life, and could they both finish high school on time? He had promised his parents he would graduate. Both of his brothers had dropped out, but Dameion wanted a diploma, like his dad, who said not to worry, it was going to be okay.
Dad, he said he was going to be there for me. And a lot of people was and they was going to help me out. But I told him, Dad, I was still going to graduate from high school.
It was September, and Dameion and Diamond went back to school for their junior year.
I mean, almost everybody was asking me too many question. It was in math class, actually, when everybody was asking me is she having a baby. I said yes. And I wanted to say no, but I was like they are going to keep asking me and asking me so I might as well say yes.
It was just a week into the school year when Diamond learned about a program for parents called New Heights. Participants meet every day during the lunch hour to talk about parenting, sexual health, and how to take care of babies.
MS. DIAMOND FIELDS
I started going every single day because it became interesting for me. And there we got lunch and we sit and we just talk. And for people that was, like, still kind pregnant, we see how they different stomach's and how they was growing.
She dragged Dameion to a session, thinking he might like it, too.
So I went and I say, wow, I'm the only dude in here. It's going to be hard. But then I was starting to listen and like, so that's what fathers do. Yeah, he makes sure that your family is protected, like nobody's not going to your family. And it shows you how to raise your baby in a good environment.
From then on, they went every single day. Even when Diamond was out of school on maternity leave, Dameion picked up all her schoolwork and told her what they'd talked about in New Heights that day. Being a father, he says, gave him a new sense of focus.
She pushes me, like, you're going to have a 3.something before you graduate and, like for English -- I hate English. I usually get like C's or D's for English. This year I passed English with a B.
If he cannot focus here and watch TV and play a video game. I know I want him to do good because then we both do good and make us both look good as a parent.
Their daughter, Crystal, spends weekdays with Diamond's aunt, but on the weekends it's full-on family time.
She runs to me, she tries to climb up to me. She's wanting to play. Then she likes when I put her on my shoulders, she's like, yeah, I can see the whole world. Or I just tickle her and, like, get to rub her belly and she's like (makes noise) all making funny noises, or I just tickle her feet.
In the Lincoln Theater on U Street Northwest, Cardozo High School's class of 2013 is rehearsing one last time before graduation.
Mary Beth Souza runs the New Heights parenting class, and is keeping order as the students process out of the theater. Dameion and Diamond were her star students.
MS. MARY BETH SOUZA
And they're just examples of what parents should be. They're hard-working, motivated, dedicated. So we're going to miss them, but we know they're going to go on to great things.
In the fall, Dameion and Diamond will attend the University of the District of Columbia, and both plan to major in graphic design. And they definitely both plan to graduate. I’m Emily Berman.
Time for a break, but when we get back, a family with a daddy and a papa.
MR. STEVE GEISHECKER
In the early days that we were together we probably didn't think that being parents were going to be in the cards for us. As a same-sex couple it was going to be challenging for us.
We'll talk with a local same-sex couple about their decision to become parents. Plus a Hollywood writer turned stay-at-home dad turns the daily high jinx of parenting into comedy gold.
MR. ADRIAN KULP
I'm sorry, did you just moon me? Great, no pants, great. No pants mooning. That was a paycheck, right there.
That and more in just a minute on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.
WAMU news coverage of labor and employment issues is made possible by your contributions and by Matthew Watson, in memory of Marjorie Watson. And support for WAMU 88.5's coverage of the environment comes from the Wallace Genetic Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of farmland preservation, the reduction of environmental toxins, and the conservation of natural resources.
Transcripts of WAMU programs are available for personal use. Transcripts are provided "As Is" without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. WAMU does not warrant that the transcript is error-free. For all WAMU programs, the broadcast audio should be considered the authoritative version. Transcripts are owned by WAMU 88.5 American University Radio and are protected by laws in both the United States and International law. You may not sell or modify transcripts or reproduce, display, distribute, or otherwise use the transcript, in whole or in part, in any way for any public or commercial purpose without the express written permission of WAMU. All requests for uses beyond personal and noncommercial use should be referred to (202) 885-1200.