Coral Gables High School senior Meghan Ballard used a change in scenery to help her succeed in school. Before she moved from North Carolina to Miami to live with her aunt and uncle, Ballard had trouble getting to school.
Her problems began with the divorce of her parents.
“My dad left and it really hit me hard,” she said. “I started missing a ton of school from then on.”
Ballard was clinically depressed from fifth grade to ninth grade. Switching back and forth between her mother’s house and her dad’s place didn’t help.
“At my mom’s, I wasn’t going to school. She tried her hardest to get me to school. I was really difficult back then,” Ballard said. “I never wanted to challenge myself. When I came here my attitude changed. Since I moved here, I have not missed a single day.”
She moved in time for the start of her junior year. Although it was a culture shock to come to Miami, she has thrived in the new setting. Now Ballard is involved in student activities such as student government and the National Honor Society as well as Interact.
Through Interact, she collected and donated food and clothing to the needy and sold food at the annual Coral Gables Caroling Competition.
Ballard also plays left field for the varsity softball team. Last year the team won the District Championship but lost to Palmetto in the first round of the Regional Championships.
“Last year gave us a lot of confidence at the end. I feel like we’re going to a lot better,” she said.
And while a couple of years ago, going to college might have seemed unattainable, today, she’s excited at the possibilities.
“I’m thinking of advertising or graphic design,” Ballard said, adding that she likes the mix of writing the ad and doing the design.
She is looking at mostly Florida schools like FSU and UCF and FIU, as well as the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld