Photo Credit: Melissa Hovanes
I met Ambrasia Pittard and her aunt, who was pushing a stroller of newborn twin babies, while they were walking through the Triangle Plaza in East Athens. Ambrasia is a senior at Cedar Shoals High School who is excited about graduating soon and hopes to become a nurse one day. But she also has a lot of responsibilities at home. She helps her mom by taking care of her little brother whenever she's away at work.
Ambrasia wants to go to Atlanta to get her nursing degree at Georgia State, but she's not ready to say goodbye to Athens and her family just yet. She wants to wait until her brother has grown up a little more until she goes off to college and takes her babysitting skills with her.
Flagpole: So, what are you doing around here?
Ambrasia Pittard: Like, at the moment, I'm at my auntie's house.
FP: OK, so this is your aunt. [I look over to Ambrasia's aunt, Yolanda, and see two tiny adorable little twin babies. I explain that I have a twin brother, and Yolanda tells me they are only two months old and that she has four other children.] So, have you been helping your aunt out?
AP: Yeah, when I come over. [Yolanda confirms that Ambrasia helps out, “Most of the time,” she says with a laugh.]
FP: Do you go to school around here?
AP: Yeah, I go to Cedar Shoals High School. I'm in 12th grade.
FP: So, you're going to be graduating and everything pretty soon. What are you looking to do after you graduate?
AP: Go to college to be a nurse. Do nursing. I want to go to school at Georgia State. If not Georgia State, then Georgia Gwinnett.
FP: Why Georgia State?
AP: I heard it's a good college, and I just want to try it out and see. That's if they accept me, though. And I've been to Atlanta and I like it there, but I haven't actually seen any of their colleges, though.
FP: What do you do when you're not in school?
AP: Nothing really. Babysit. Other responsibilities [at home]. That's basically it… I was doing cheerleading, competition cheerleading, but the season's over with now, so it doesn't do anything right now.
FP: Competition cheerleading, that's like tumbling and stuff, right?
AP: Yeah, like on [the movie] Bring It On. Like that, yeah… We would practice, like, three days a week from 5 until like 7:30.
FP: Wow, that's a pretty big time commitment. And so do you like lift people up and throw them up in the air?
AP: Yeah, we do stuntin', flipping people in the air, doing back flips and more… We went to a lot of competitions. We went to other schools, like, out of town. Where did we go? I'm tryin' to remember... We've been to Monroe, we've been to Atlanta, we've been to Greene County. We travel all over the state just to compete for trophies and stuff.
FP: Did you win a lot?
AP: Yeah, the highest we've won is second place—when I was there. But other than that, they've won first place plenty of times before, but not when I was there, though.
FP: So, when you go to college are you looking to continue doing cheerleading?
AP: I want to, but I'm basically going to be, like, my main priority is for me to just be, like, focused on nursing and doing that.
FP: So, why nursing?
AP: 'Cause I love babies and taking care of babies, so I really want to do that. I want to be kind of like a pediatrician.
FP: Do you have any other interests, any other things you do in your free time?
AP: I do hair. My mom, she does hair. 'Cause when I was younger, we used to stay out here at Nellie B. And when I was younger, I used to watch my mom braid her friends' hair and do hair and stuff. So, that's how I learned how to do hair. My sister knows how to do hair, too.
FP: So, you grew up over here [at Nellie B.] near your aunt? When did you move?
AP: Yeah, we lived over here until I was like 5.
FP: So, do you have a lot of friends from school? Do you get to hang out with them a lot?
AP: Yep, but only after I do like my responsibilities at home. Once I do my responsibilities I get to hang out and just have fun with my friends… I mostly watch my little brother—my mom has to work a lot, so I have to watch my little brother while she's at work a lot.
FP: And how old is he?
AP: He's 6.
FP: Oh, so he's kind of a huge responsibility. So, you help her out a lot?
AP: Yes, a lot.
FP: Well, what's she going to do when you leave?
AP: I don't know. See, the thing is, I'm not really planning on leaving—not soon, at least. Not 'til around when I'm, like, 25 or something or when my brother is, like, 15 or something. Other than that, no time soon.
FP: So, you're going to hold off on getting your nursing degree.
AP: Yeah. I'm gonna wait a while, when I'm older and my brother's older.