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Ari Everett-Allen Shifts Struggles to Success

Cover graphic for senior snapshot featuring Ari Everett-Allen

Ferguson High School senior Ari Everett-Allen will tell you that her path to graduation wasn’t always smooth, but she will also tell you that she never doubted that she would get there.

“I always planned to graduate. My mom would never let me not go to school,” Ari says. “There was never a time when I didn’t want to graduate, but there were definitely times I didn’t want to go to school. It was a bumpy road to getting to graduate.”

Ari started school at one of Thompson School District’s traditional high schools, but by the middle of her sophomore year, her mom decided it was time for a change.

Ari Everett-Allen and her family enjoy a meal at a restaurant, including with a toddler and a baby in a stroller

Ari Everett-Allen Changes Schools, Lifestyle to Reach Goals

“I switched to Ferguson. I didn’t want to. My mom forced me, but I’m so grateful for that,” Ari says, explaining that she had been making some bad choices at her previous school, resulting in Ari developing substance use issues and eventually getting into legal trouble.

Ari says she was anxious about changing high schools midway through tenth grade, and her substance use issues, including an addiction to the prescription drug Adderall, followed her from her previous school. By that time, Ari had been put on probation for getting caught with drug paraphernalia and was court-ordered to do regular drug testing.

“When I first came to FHS, I was definitely mouthy. That changed after getting sober,” she says. “I had to take a step and realize it’s embarrassing to act like that. It’s not cool, and it’s not funny. I got put in check from all of the court stuff. It was giving me a second chance.”

Ari says she had been at Ferguson for over a semester before realizing that battling the people trying to help her was not making her life better. Once she realized that the teachers and staff at the school cared about her and were there to help and support her, something changed in how she viewed adults, including her mom.

“When you have that attitude, you don’t care about anything. I realized I wanted to care about what people think of me. You get more respect from people that way, more trust,” she recalls. “After everything changed, my mom trusted me, and we had a better relationship. People treat you better when you’re not like that.”

Looking Forward to a Career In Health Care

Ari Everett-Allen sits on couch while feeding bottle to baby in lap

Now that she is nearing graduation, Ari looks back on her high school years as a transformative period in her life. She went from having to attend court dates and do mandatory drug testing to being excited about getting her diploma and starting a career in the medical field. Once Ari finished her high school credits at Ferguson, she started a CNA (certified nursing assistant) program at Front Range Community College. Now, she is working on getting an EMT (emergency medical technician) certification. She hopes to one day work in pediatrics with babies and children.

“Graduation is a big step for me, but a bigger step is what I’m doing now,” Ari says. “It’s not something a lot of 17-year-olds put their mind to. Graduating high school is a big deal, but I feel a tiny bit more proud of the EMT thing.”

Ari says she feels like she is finally on a safe, smart path. While she is very grateful to her teachers and staff and Ferguson High School for having a great therapist she can talk to, she is especially grateful to her mom for never giving up on her.

“It took me taking a step back and realizing I don’t want to live like this,” Ari says. “I didn’t want to be looked at as that kind of person. I didn’t want to BE that kind of person.”

Portrait of a Graduate


Seeks career pathways and opportunities

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Class of 2024