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Dameion Agee met Diamond Fields when they were in seventh grade. "I ain't never know a girl's name could be Diamond!" Agee recalls. They became best friends, and were together for four years, when Fields called Agee and told him she was pregnant.
"I was surprised when she told me," Agee remembers. "Like, 101 questions came up to my head."
Questions such as: how would a baby change his life, and could they both still finish high school on time? He had promised his parents he would graduate. Both of his brothers had dropped out, but Agee wanted to graduate, like his father.
It was September, and Agee and Fields went back to school for their junior year. A week into the school year, Agee 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.
"We just talk and understand everyone's feelings," Diamond explains. "We show pictures and see how everyone's stomachs are growing."
When Agee went, he was the only guy in the room. At first, he though he'd just tune everyone out. But then he started to listen. He learned things such as how to raise a baby in a good environment.
From then on, they went every single day. Even when Fields was out of school on maternity leave, Agee brought home 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. His grade point was above a 3.0, and he spent his afternoons with the school Robotics team.
Crystal, their daughter, spends weekdays with Fields' aunt, but on the weekends it's full-on family time.
"She tries to climb up to me," he says. "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 rub her belly."
Mary Beth Souza runs the New Heights parenting class, and says Agee and Fields were her star students. "They're just examples of what parents should be. We're gonna miss them, but they're going to go on to great things."
In the fall, the both will attend the University of the District of Columbia, and both plan to major in graphic design. And they definitely plan to graduate.
[Music: "Still Fighting It" by Ben Folds, performed by Twilight Trio from Pure Instrumental: Rock It! Vol. 4]