Teen Dad Graduates High School With Daughter At His Side (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Teen Dad Graduates High School With Daughter At His Side

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

00:00:03
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

00:00:18
Dameion Agee met Diamond Fields in seventh grade.

MR. DAMEION AGEE

00:00:22
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.

BERMAN

00:00:34
They became best friends, and were together for four years, when Diamond called Dameion and told him she was pregnant.

AGEE

00:00:41
That was a surprise when she told me. Like, 101 questions came up to my head.

BERMAN

00:00:46
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.

AGEE

00:01:01
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.

BERMAN

00:01:10
It was September, and Dameion and Diamond went back to school for their junior year.

AGEE

00:01:14
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.

BERMAN

00:01:25
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

00:01:38
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.

BERMAN

00:01:50
She dragged Dameion to a session, thinking he might like it, too.

AGEE

00:01:54
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.

BERMAN

00:02:18
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.

AGEE

00:02:32
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.

FIELDS

00:02:44
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.

BERMAN

00:02:52
Their daughter, Crystal, spends weekdays with Diamond's aunt, but on the weekends it's full-on family time.

AGEE

00:02:58
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.

BERMAN

00:03:18
In the Lincoln Theater on U Street Northwest, Cardozo High School's class of 2013 is rehearsing one last time before graduation.

BERMAN

00:03:32
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

00:03:40
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.

BERMAN

00:03:53
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.

SHEIR

00:04:25
Time for a break, but when we get back, a family with a daddy and a papa.

MR. STEVE GEISHECKER

00:04:30
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.

SHEIR

00:04:41
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

00:04:51
I'm sorry, did you just moon me? Great, no pants, great. No pants mooning. That was a paycheck, right there.

SHEIR

00:04:59
That and more in just a minute on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.

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00:05:04
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