This content is part of a series.
Wisdom and Folly (6 of 40)
Carrie Dixon did not know her father and was left an orphan when her mother died when she was 6 years old. Shuffled for years between relatives, she says she began to take school seriously in the third grade, after a classmate called her dumb.
When she discovered that she could the attention she craved by achieving, she became hooked on academics. As valedictorian
for the 1989 graduating class of at Houston's Jack Yates High School, Carrie Dixon, has an impressive grade point average.
Calculus an A. Physics an A. English and A. Her four year average: 4.59 out of a possible 4.6 because she got a B in typing.
But her most surprising stats have nothing to do with school.
She had one daughter, Terresha who is 20 months and she is six months pregnant with her second child. She is not married and
her children have different fathers.
Carrie's unusual situation has stirred controversy. Some people find her achievement - a sterling academic record despite the strain of single motherhood - inspiring. Others are more than a little uncomfortable with presenting her as an example to emulate.
For her part, Dixon makes no apologies. "When someone thinks of a black teenage mother, the first thing they think of is welfare and dropping out of school," she told a reporter. "It's okay to that that some girls do, but some people think all (girls) do. It's a terrible stereotype."
In the fall of 1989 she began studying chemical engineering at the University of Houston on a scholarship. Despite her interest in science she admits she was ignorant and careless about birth control. Her first sexual experience resulted in her first pregnancy.
Then she gave up the pill and got pregnant again.
One neighbor said what a lot of people feel about the valedictorian, "She has a lot of book sense, but no common sense."
Knowledge does not make us wise and inform ...
There are 11068 characters in the full content. This excerpt only shows a 2000 character sample of the full content.