Cleveland, OH,
08:23 AM

Lincoln-West Graduate Finds a Career and Hope Amid Teen Pregnancy, Mental Health Battle

Damien Johnson, Sadie Pribanic and their daughter, Row

At the young age of 14, Sadie Pribanic was told her life was over. In December of 2016, not only was she suffering from anxiety and depression, but she also learned she was pregnant.

A baby on the way meant Sadie would take her freshman year classes online, without her classmates, alone at home, years before COVID-19 made that the norm. But it was hard to focus on school with Row, her nickname for Romalynn, her baby girl, who kept her up at night, who needed her all day long, who had her thinking school was something extra, not something she needed to do.

Until Sadie’s report card arrived. And she saw that her As and Bs had plunged to Ds and Fs.

She realized she had to get back to herself and turn her life around.

That summer, when Row was about to turn 1, Sadie headed to Max Hayes for a high school fair to choose the school she would attend that fall. The booth for the Lincoln-West School of Science & Health caught her eye.

She’d always wanted to be a nurse. And the high school inside MetroHealth offered training in phlebotomy. Sadie saw learning to draw blood as her first step to becoming a nurse. Even better, the school was a dozen blocks from her home off Lorain Avenue.

Weeks later, Sadie was sitting in classes at Lincoln-West, the first school in the country inside of a hospital. And she loved it.

It wasn’t just the MetroHealth doctors and nurses who came to her classes to talk about the care they provided or the way she could talk to fellow students about the careers they wanted in health care or that she was inducted into the National Honor Society her junior year or selected for the State Tested Nursing Assistant training program her senior year.

It was the people who surrounded her: the teachers at Lincoln-West, the nurses who taught her STNA classes and oversaw her internship in nursing, the MetroHealth team that worked with students at the high school.

People like Katrina Kelley, MetroHealth’s manager of Nursing Education and Professional Development.

“They gave me a sense of hope,” Sadie says. “They told me I could go above and beyond no matter what my situation was. They knew I was a good student and I could do whatever I put my mind to.”

They were right.

Her senior year, Sadie’s fellow students elected her class president. And by graduation day, June 22, 2021, she had a four-year scholarship to Ursuline College that covers nearly all her tuition and books.

Sadie starts there on August 21. She’ll major in nursing and minor in art therapy.

Her goal is to earn a bachelor’s degree, work for a few years then go back to school to become an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner in pediatrics.

“What really made it worth all of it was that nobody told me that I couldn’t do anything. They told me I could go above and beyond no matter what my situation was.

“That support,” Sadie says, “is what got me through.”

About The MetroHealth System

The MetroHealth System is redefining health care by going beyond medical treatment to improve the foundations of community health and well-being: affordable housing, a cleaner environment, economic opportunity and access to fresh food, convenient transportation, legal help and other services. The system strives to become as good at preventing disease as it is at treating it.

The system’s more than 600 doctors, 1,700 nurses and 7,800 employees go to work each day with a mission of service, to their patients and to the community. As Cuyahoga County’s safety-net health system, MetroHealth plays an essential role in the region, caring for anyone and everyone, regardless of an ability to pay.

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth operates four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. The system serves more than 300,000 patients, two-thirds of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.

MetroHealth is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and Ohio’s only adult and pediatric trauma and burn center.

As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to research and to teaching and training tomorrow’s caregivers. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Its main campus hospital houses the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Lincoln-West School of Science & Health, the only high school in America located inside a hospital.

Knowing that good health is about much more than good medical care, MetroHealth has launched the Institute for H.O.P.E.™ (Health, Opportunity, Partnership, Empowerment), which uses a coordinated, collaborative and strategic approach to help patients with non-medical needs such as healthy food, stable housing and job training.

The MetroHealth Glick Center, a new 11-floor hospital, is under construction on the system’s main campus in Cleveland and is scheduled to welcome its first patients in October 2022. The billion-dollar project is the cornerstone of a wider neighborhood revitalization effort led by the system and its partners in the community.

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