Editor’s note: This is the 11th in our annual “Standout Grads” series, which concludes Sunday.
Clatskanie High School senior Chloe Davidson pays for nearly everything by herself: Clothes, food, car insurance, gas, insulin shots — even her senior photos.
Chloe’s self-sufficiency isn’t a choice: She said her mom struggles with depression and other problems, so she often has to act as the adult in the home.
“I’ve been the parent, I’ve helped my sister a lot, I’ve helped with bills,” she said. “Ever since I’ve had a real job, I’ve always paid (for) my own things. It’s been pretty rough.”
Although Chloe’s father is supportive, she said he lives in Montana, meaning Chloe and her seventh-grade sister only visit him periodically when not at school.
“I have a really good relationship with my dad, he’s shown me what a stable family should look like,” she said.
Chloe, 18, also lives with Type 1 Diabetes, a condition she manages by scheduling her own doctor appointments and purchasing her own insulin shots.
She supports herself, her sister and a friend by waiting tables at Westport restaurant. Still, she excelled academically at Clatskanie. She said her GPA is about 3.80, and she earned a full-ride scholarship to Portland State University.
Chloe said keeping a handle on schoolwork despite her busy life is possible because she “likes to push myself.”
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“You have to be willing to get up out of bed and go do those things,” she said. “It’s something you have to do to get through it, and if you don’t put in what you want to get out of it, then it’s not going to be worth it.”
Although she said she wants to keep her options open, Chloe plans on studying child psychology at Portland State. Her interest in the field was piqued after volunteering at a Head Start program in Clatskanie.
“Working with the four- and five-year-olds gave me more of a passion for children,” she said. “I don’t personally want kids of my own, but I do really well with kids, and I love to hang out with kids and play and interact with them.”
Because of her family’s struggles, Chloe said it’s easy to feel envy towards students who are more well off.
“There’s also a lot of that jealousy … when other kids (in school) who are like, ‘Oh, my parents just bought me my prom dress,’ or, ‘I don’t pay my own car insurance,’ “ she said. “It’s hard to not be frustrated ... because I don’t know what that is like.”
Anngie Froke, who runs the college and career readiness center at the high school, and had nothing but praise for Chloe determination to create a better life for herself.
“Growing up the way she has, there are certain things she’d like to carry with her for the rest of her life, and she’s noticed things she’d like to change for her own situation,” she said. “She’s realized that’s only going to come with a lot of hard work.”
By financially supporting herself, Chloe said she believes she’ll be prepared for college and adult life.
“It’s definitely a good prep for going away to Portland,” she said of being self-sustaining. “I don’t feel like I’m going to be thrown out into something I’ve never done before, because I pay (for) a lot of my own stuff.”