SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s not surprising that Guidance Counselor DeYandre Wilson has nothing but good things to say about Student of Character Kaila Barnett.
“She’s just an exceptional young lady,” said Wilson. “She’s one of those people that you can come in and have a bad day. Then you see her and it makes it all better and you remember why we do what we do in the first place.”
Just a few years ago, though, Barnett was anything but a teacher’s dream. She herself explained how she had a poor attitude, disrupted class and simply didn’t listen. But then, who can say for sure why, she did finally listen to a few words from a teacher named Miss Thomas.
“She set me aside one day and said, you know what, you’re going to be somebody and you don’t need to do any of this to get attention,” said Barnett. “You don’t need to bad mouth people. You don’t need to stop doing your work just so that you can get attention, the bad attention. Every student, every person., wants attention. It’s either bad or good. But what kind of attention do you want? And as of now, I want the good attention, not the bad.”
She’s received a lot of that good attention when she became a Certified Nurse Assistant at age 16. With the minimum age usually 18, she had to convince educators she could balance that course load with her high school work. She plans to go on in medicine to be a traveling practitioner and work with people with Alzheimer’s.
“People like to throw people by the wayside when you lose your mind,” said Barnett. “But I think there’s still something in there. Like how did you lose your mind? I want to know why. how does that happen? Of course, I want to research that and figure out if there’s a better medication for them.”
“She’s so driven and she’s so focused on what it is that she wants and what she wants to do for people,” said Wilson. “She’s definitely prepared.”