Chalkbeat + Reveal: How this Chicago student is balancing high school, caregiving, and coronavirus, in her own words

Sarah Alli-Brown
Sarah Alli-Brown, 16, pictured in Chicago on March 30, 2020. (Photo by Kalyn Belsha/Chalkbeat)

When school buildings first began closing in March, we started talking with a high school junior in Chicago named Sarah Alli-Brown about how the coronavirus pandemic had affected her education and her life.

She told us about how she was trying to juggle studying for the SAT, taking a college class, and caring for her little brothers while her mother worked long hours as an essential worker. You can read that story here.

Since then, Sarah’s life hasn’t gotten any easier — though she’s kept going. She’s now doing her high school classwork remotely, while still balancing all her other responsibilities. She’s also been helping her younger brothers with their online school work and trying to make sure her brother with autism gets some speech therapy.

This week, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting featured Sarah, her younger brothers, and her mother in an audio diary. You can hear that story below.

It’s part of an episode focused on how coronavirus has changed education in America, produced in partnership with Chalkbeat. Listen to the full episode here

“I have to keep going,” Sarah told Reveal. “At times it’s like, oh my gosh it’s being too much, it’s being too much, I just can’t anymore.”

She hopes one day she can tell her brothers: “You guys were blowing my mind, but I still made it, and I still overcame.”

The audio story about Sarah was produced by Anayansi Diaz-Cortes and edited by Brett Myers, with sound design and mixing by Jim Briggs.

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