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Hodge resident Chelsea Baker, right, graduated from Riverside Preparatory School in 2013 and is now in her first year of college at Southern Utah University. Chelsea, Mari, left, and Randy Baker moved to Hodge from Hesperia after both of their parents passed away in the mid-2000s.

Teen now attending college after losing both parents

STAFF WRITER

After losing both of her parents as a child, Chelsea Baker took on a bigger role in the lives of her two younger siblings.

Baker, now 18, is a lifelong resident of the High Desert who moved to Utah last fall to attend her first semester of college. The Baker family was struck by tragedy in December 2004, when Chelsea’s mother Diane Baker died of a heart attack two days before Christmas.

After the death of his wife, Randy Baker was on his own to raise the couple’s five children, including Chelsea and her younger siblings Randy and Mari.

In May 2006, the Baker children also lost their father when Randy Baker died in a motorcycle accident. Randy’s sister Denise Briggs took over the role of taking care of the children, and the five kids moved to Briggs’ farm in Hodge.

However, the tough times and move to Hodge didn’t deter Chelsea, who excelled at Riverside Preparatory and made sure that Randy, 14, and Mari, 13, also worked hard in school.

“We started going to a charter school and getting really good grades, and just working on the farm,” Chelsea said.

Chelsea graduated from Riverside Prep in 2013, and by autumn she was enrolled in her first semester at Southern Utah University. 

“I’ve been out here for five months so far,” Chelsea said. “It’s pretty much the cheapest school that I got into. And it’s the athletic training program. I want to become an athletic trainer. I want to finish out a four-year university and maybe go on from there and do good in my life.”

Chelsea is currently trying to raise money for her next semester of college on the Give Forward donation website.

“Honestly I’m just trying to finish out my second semester in college. I want to go to school for four years, and I don’t think it’s going to happen because there’s no money,” she said. “So I’m just asking for a little bit of help so I can get through the rest of the semester.”

To visit Chelsea’s donation site, go to www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/w4p3/orphaned-teen-needs-assistance-to-continue-her-college-education-help-make-her-dream-come-true.


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