Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Young student turning her life around

Published:Thursday | June 22, 2017 | 12:16 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
Monique Miller

Monique Miller is now a settled grade-10 student at Lennon High School in Mocho, Clarendon. But that has not always been the case. It has been a long and tumultuous path to her finally making peace with the ghosts that haunted her, resulting in her deviant behaviour which saw her being expelled from a former school.

The teenager invited Rural Xpress into her world as she revisited a time in her life that she has now left behind.

Miller's world was rocked in primary school when her best friend died of cancer.

"I felt like dying myself. My friend was like a brother and he died at age 13," she said.

That death caused a downward spiral in her behaviour and she started fighting and getting into trouble.

She even started bullying weaker students.

After attending May Pen High School, she was expelled for disruptive behaviour, constant fighting and time-wasting.


Still no changes


"I was eventually enrolled at Lennon High last year, but nothing changed. I was still fighting and keeping the wrong company.

I skipped classes and was disrespectful to persons in authority," she shared.

That attitude cost her her place on the football team at the school.

Miller was eventually referred to the Dispute Resolution School Intervention Programme, last October, after she physically assaulted another student.

"I started but didn't think it was for me, so I returned to school without seeing the programme through," she said.

In February of this year, she was again in trouble for being disrespectful and for truancy.

Miller, who resides in Sandy Bay with her grandmother, as her father lives in Effortville and her mother in England, was soon back in the intervention programme. This time she was engaged in a one-on-one session with the youth peace facilitator, who impressed on her the need to give the process a chance.

"I was convinced I needed to give it a chance. I saw where the intervention was working as I felt less angry and I was getting in less trouble," she shared.

Miller also shared that she particularly liked the anger management and self-esteem sessions as those had the most impact on her.

Youth peace facilitator at the foundation, Sandria Watkis Madden, said she was really impressed with Miller's progress.

Today, she has high praises for her and is happy she was accepted back into Lennon, as she said the school had reservations about taking her back since her previous behaviour did not much inspire confidence.

In the end, Miller said it was her desire to change and to get back to school and on to the football field that saw her turning her life around.

Now that she is back on track and staying away from fights, Miller has her sights set on becoming a police officer.