A Portland 17-year-old will be graduating from high school Wednesday night, but she won’t receive her diploma with the rest of the Class of 2014.
Jill Gould, who battles a rare liver disorder, known as Acute Intermittent Porphyria, says the air quality and chemicals present in the Portland school system made her sick on many occasions, even to the point where she would pass out and require hospitalization. Her mother says the school system ignored the family’s concerns, so they had no choice but to take her out of Portland schools after 8th grade and have her educated through a combination of tutoring and alternative schools.
Much of her time during high school was spent with a tutor in the Portland public library, which Jill calls an awesome experience.
She had the opportunity to walk with the Portland High School graduating class, but she won’t, in part, because she feels like a “ghost, someone who’s part of the class, but is never seen.”
Of more concern, to Jill’s parents, was the prospect graduation might need to be moved indoors, inside the school where she experienced so many health issues.
In the fall, Jill will begin classes at Manchester Community College, which Jill and her family have already scouted for potential chemical and air quality conflicts.