BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Young, pregnant teenage girls in Baltimore have lost a tremendous advocate in Dr. Rosetta Stith, who has died.

‘Doc’ as the girls called her, ran the Laurence G. Paquin School for Pregnant Teenagers for nearly 40 years. In that time she transformed the lives of countless young mothers including Kenise Pendleton.

Kenise is a college graduate and mother of four, but in 1997 she was 14 and pregnant when she enrolled in the Paquin School.

Her son was in her arms when she graduated two years later as valedictorian. She said the school and Dr. Stith saved her life.

“At Paquin we were expected to be great. We were not bound by our situation,” Pendleton said. “She was a glamorous woman. Her hair was always flawless, her makeup was always there. She was the embodiment of a phenomenal woman.”

“She took those girls into the school and she not only nurtured them but she ensured they had skills that could be used when they left that school,” Nancy Grasmick said.

The Paquin School closed in 2010; at one time its halls were full of young mothers and their children. The girls got pre- and post-natal care, parenting classes and a good education. The children got quality child care and love.

“She loved, loved, loved Omari and all our children,” Pendleton said.

“She taught them how to love their children, to really honor their children,” Grasmick said.

Dr. Stith never had children of her own, but hundreds of women said she was that and much more to them.

“I guess I could sum it up this way; God chooses his warriors. When God wants somebody to do his work that’s what he does,” Stith said in a past interview.

Friday, June 16 at 7 p.m., there will be a candlelight vigil for Dr. Stith in front of the old Paquin School building at 2200 Sinclair Lane.

Her memorial service will be Saturday, June 17 at 3 p.m. at the Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home located at 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

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