Coming from poverty is no reason to become a failure in life and cause mayhem. I have known kids who grew up with both parents and a good family but who still got in trouble. And I have known kids from a poor family who never got into trouble.

My mom died when she was 35 years old, leaving eight children. Grandpa lived with us. Dad worked swing shifts at a paper mill. We ranged in age from 14 years old to 18 months old; seven girls, two boys. At that time, I was 4 years old.

At first, relatives came to help out but soon left as we had no modern conveniences. Some of us ended in an orphanage, later in foster homes, all separated from one another.

Yet two older sisters won scholarships to Mount Merici Academy in Waterville. My eldest sister joined the Government Nursing Corp program and became a nurse. Another sister became a teacher in elementary school; a brother, an agronomist.

I graduated fourth in my class in eighth grade. We had to work hard at school and at college. Nothing was easy. Dad could not afford to pay for a college education so we had to manage the best way we could on our own.

Hardship brings on challenges to make life better, or worse, for ourselves. People must take responsibility for themselves, not blame government, parents, schools or society.

Gabrielle De Moras, Lewiston

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