Some high school students are content with writing about the use of foreshadowing in A Tale of Two Cities or testing whether tap water is as pure as bottled water. Then there's Gaby Rodriguez, who spent 6 ½ months of her senior year pretending to be pregnant so she could write about "Stereotypes, Rumors and Statistics."
Gaby is the 17-year-old with the 3.8 GPA who pulled off the pregnancy hoax and kept it (and her fake belly) a secret from even her six siblings and her boyfriend's parents. Only her mom, boyfriend and a few select others were in on the project until she finally took off her faux belly at an emotional school-wide assembly last month and discussed some of the comments and reactions she had recorded: friends calling her "irresponsible," others sniping behind her back about how she "had ruined her life."
Talk about a killer college essay.
Trevor Greene, the principal of the Yakima, Wash., school, applauded Gaby for sacrificing her senior year to find out what it would be like to be an expectant teen mom.
"I admire her courage. I admire her preparation," he said. "I give her mother a lot of credit for backing her up on this."
That was before he added that he would never let his own teenage daughter do it.
Most moms go out of their way to support their kids' school projects. (Hey, I have pictures of Maya temples made from sugar cubes and perfectly scaled dioramas of rain forests, complete with misters, from my kid's fourth grade class to prove it.) And we'd like to think that we'd stand by our teen daughters no matter what happens. But would you be willing to support the web of lies – not to mention the heartache and the hurtful exposure – involved in such an ambitious plan? And if you were on the other end of that experiment – as a parent thinking you're about to become a grandparent – could you forgive the other mom for duping you?
Is this a cool class project? Or just a cruel lie?