Class of 2011: West Senior Finds Hope in Friends, Music
Waukesha West High School student keeps pushing through to graduation despite being abandoned and becoming homeless during his final months in school.
Throughout his high school career, Waukesha West High School senior Nick Blais, 18, had to deal with all the regular stresses of the average teenager.
But four months ago, he found himself in a precarious situation when his mom decided to move to California without him and leaving him suddenly homeless. Blais said he didn’t have a driver’s license, state ID, bank account or any other basic necessities an adult needs to function and he needed to fix the situation immediately.
“At this point I really have no idea what’s in store for me next,” he said. “But I had to learn how to stand on my own two feet.”
Blais found himself in a situation where he needed to grow up fast and conquered those challenges. Now with the school year coming to a close, Blais finds himself on the verge of graduation and looking forward to attending college in fall at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
After he became homeless, Blais said his friend Jared Christensen and his family took him in and helped care for him. He also became “20,000 times closer” with his father, who now had to send support checks directly to Blais, who in turn had to figure out how to live on the money.
Blais said he also taught himself how to drive a car and do every other function an adult must do because he’s in a situation where he had to learn quick.
“People were like ‘Nick, you’re so heartbroken about your mom,’” he said. “But really I was focused more on what I needed to do and what I needed to get done."
Despite the situation he found himself in, Blais said he also holds no ill will towards anyone or has gotten bitter about life, saying everything makes him happy even though he can’t explain why. Blais said the kindness the Christensen’s have shown him also shows him that he met his “true family.”
Blais said one constant throughout high school has also been choir, which has shown him there’s no better way to open up with other people than to sing together.
“Me and Jared we have this quote thought up that through laughter and language and music, we conquered ourselves,” Blais said.
Although Blais said he’s still undecided about what he’ll study in college, he’s excited to take the next step in his life. After growing up quickly, he is prepared for any challenges he’ll meet down the road.
And for other teens that might find themselves in a similar situation in the future, Blais said those kids should remember that while it may seem overwhelming at first, the challenges can be met by keeping a checklist and learning how to make a good budget.
“Don’t let bad relationships close you off from new ones,” he said.