Nicole Alvez and her 10-month-old daughter arrive at Benjamin Franklin High School in the mornings around 7:45, changes her baby's diaper, gets her settled for the day and heads down the hall to class. Alvez, a 17-year-old senior at the school in Curtis Bay, is set to graduate in about two months. She has defied the odds for teen parents with the help of a fledgling program at the school that provides free day care, coaches new moms and dads and monitors their academic performance.
All of the seniors enrolled in the program since it started in 2014 have finished high school. Nationally, roughly 60 percent of teen parents drop out. "It's not just a baby drop," said Heather Chapman, the center's deputy director and co-founder. "You can't just bring your child, drop them off and that's it. We want to engage the child and the parent.