Pulling herself up from the bottom

HB Independent

Last month, Lauren Garcia found herself in a spot she never would have imagined a year or two ago — finishing high school ahead of schedule.

The 17-year-old started strongly at Fountain Valley High School, acting in school plays and singing with the choir her freshman year. Afterward, by her own admission, she fell in with the wrong crowd, got in trouble and watched her grades slip.

By the second semester of her junior year, the Huntington Beach resident had hit bottom, to the point where she often felt too depressed to get out of bed. Rather than try to make up her lost credits at Fountain Valley, she opted for Coast High School, the district's independent-studies campus.

"It was a real low point of my life," Lauren said. "Then I went to Coast and got everything together."

At Coast, Lauren attended classes every Friday and studied in her bedroom the rest of the week, raising her grade-point average to nearly a 4.0 and completing her last units a few weeks before the deadline. She plans to attend Orange Coast College in the fall and pursue an acting or singing career.

"Being on Broadway in New York would be a dream come true," she said.

— Michael Miller

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