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Monday, March 2, 2015

AEC Student Goes from Gangs to Student Mentor

Tiffani Miller showing off her contagious smile.
It’s no coincidence that the mascot of Mansfield ISD’s Alternative Education Center is the phoenix.

In Greek mythology, a phoenix was a bird that could be reborn or regenerated. And just like the phoenix, students at AEC are getting a second chance at life—like Tiffani Miller.

The 18 year old was initiated into a gang at the age of nine years old in Detroit, Michigan. She was involved with the gang until the age of 14 when she and her family moved to Texas to focus on her basketball career.

Miller’s transition didn’t go so smoothly, though. She started getting into fights and got transferred to AEC in September 2014. That’s when her life began to take a turn for the better.

“It provided me with a lot of focus,” said Miller. “I thought AEC was going to be a place where you’re rejected by the teachers, but they really do try to help you in the classroom and in the real world with the resources they provide.”

The 11th grader was able to tap into her people skills and help start AEC’s mentorship program. Every Wednesday, she talks to a group of girls to encourage them and remind them that they can still determine their own destiny.

“I know how hard it is when people aren’t there to push you into the right direction. I just want to show them love,” said Miller.

Miller has big plans for her future. She said she is getting basketball scholarships, and wants to enlist into the military’s police division after she graduates. After that, she plans to start her own inner-city youth program.

“For kids in similar situations, I want them to know that life happens; but it’s what you do about it that matters. It’s never too late to change—just put in the work to do it,” said Miller.