Minnie M. excelled at Learn4Life and was involved in almost every activity offered at Innovation High, Lakeside. She loved SLAM Poetry, often volunteered at community events and was always willing to talk with other students about our school. “She won almost every type of award, from academic to resiliency awards, and her entire family would come to the award ceremonies. They were all so proud of her accomplishments,” her principal, Lisa Youngflesh, recalls. “After graduating last year, she moved into an apartment and purchased a car…all at age 17. Now she has returned as an Alumnae Ambassador at her alma mater.”
Minnie is an inspiration to students, as a living example of how to work hard to overcome life’s challenges. When parents meet her at orientation and hear her story about graduating, going to college now, and working at the school, they are always so impressed and hopeful of their own child doing the same. “She’s very smart, dependable, respectful and kind,” added Youngflesh. “We are so fortunate to have such an amazing student like her come through our program.”
Things have not always come easy for Minnie, as she struggled with depression and anxiety from a young age. She was a self-described perfectionist and procrastinator which always held her back. Entering Innovation High as a freshman, she learned coping skills, and how to speak up to express herself, which helped her gain confidence. “With the help and support of the school and its employees, I was able to overcome my own self-destruction and do my best work,” she said. “All my teachers and counselors coached me to be the best version of myself and to never, EVER give up on myself or my dreams,” she said. “Without them, I would not have accomplished all that I have and for that, I am incredibly grateful.”
Despite being very active in college, she still has time to help students who are struggling. “I wanted to work here because it always felt like a second home. Some of my greatest and most cherished experiences came from this school,” she said. “I try to help these kids like Learn4Life helped me. I feel like I’m making a difference.“
Minnie is working on a degree in justice and criminology at Purdue University Global, the online division of the Purdue university system in Indiana, and plans on moving to Texas to become a crime scene forensic technician.
She is active in the chess club, the Black Student Union, writing club, OWLs Association, the eSports team, the Pride Club, the science club, and the finance and investments club.