Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

REMARKABLE SENIORS; Jackson Grad Kept a Promise She Made to Her Mother

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

REMARKABLE SENIORS; Jackson Grad Kept a Promise She Made to Her Mother

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Soergel

During Kaylah Green's sophomore year at Andrew Jackson High School, she was living with her mother, Robbin, at Hubbard House, a refuge for victims of domestic violence and their families.

Carolyn Goodwine, Robbin's sister, was not happy about that. "I didn't want them to be there at all, but the program that they offered helped my sister in ways that I wasn't able to help her at the time," she said.

So her sister stayed there. But Goodwine readily agreed to take Kaylah, her niece, into her home, an Arlington apartment she shares with her husband and their three children.

It's crowded, sure. It requires bunk beds and a constant winnowing of any extra things.

But it was the right thing to do, Goodwine said: After all, she had watched Kaylah grow up and had shared so much with her sister. She was even in the hospital room when Kaylah was born.

"We kind of come from a background that, when family is in trouble, you step up and you help," she said.

Life stayed tough for Kaylah though, even after she moved into her new home. Shortly afterward, her mother fell into a coma and died of a blood clot in her heart, a complication from diabetes. She was 35.

"Same age I am now," Goodwine said.

Her death came three months after the death of Kaylah's grandmother Jewel Brown, another strong influence in her life.

Kaylah felt lost and lonely for a while. But she found purpose, she said, in a promise she'd made to her mother and grandmother - that she would finish high school and go to college.

Kaylah, 19, graduated from Jackson in May.

"I kept that promise," she said.

Keeping her grades up was her motivation, she said. "I had to focus on what's really the bigger picture. I didn't really have time to focus on myself. Just focus on getting through this. …

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