Former bully credits counselor for change in attitude

Ariyan Akins is hoping to graduate in May a year early to pursue her degree in nursing. She spoke to KRCG 13 about how her attitude has changed, and explained why she used to treat others poorly. (KRCG 13/Andrew Wafford)

Ariyan Akins said she can't wait for her future. She's constantly dreaming about what waits for her outside the halls of Jefferson City High School.

"When I think about my future it's bright," the 16-year-old said. "It's very bright, and I get so excited talking about it. I want to be a nurse."

She's forging a path toward studying nursing by working on her Certified Nursing Assistant degree through a local nursing home. She also works part-time at Sonic.

However, she's not on this journey alone.

She said she's received the 110 percent support of her guidance counselor, Ms. Teshura Rogers.

"She has become just like the rest of them, one of my other babies, that I work with really closely, but she has really grown," Rogers said. She serves as the transitional counselor for Jefferson City Public Schools.

When Akins arrived to Rogers' case load two years ago, she was much different. Rogers said Akins was often caught up in fights, drama, and had issues with other students.

"She didn't articulate herself very well," Rogers said. "She would get angry, kind of shut down, have days where she would get upset, kind of was in the midst of issues where there were fights, and disagreements."

Akins said she took out her anger of not wanting to be at school on others.

"My attitude just really sucked," she said of her sophomore year experience.

Rogers worked with Akins to develop coping skills, and Akins said she realized getting into so much trouble wasn't worth it.

"You can't just do anything and expect you to not have consequences," Akins said. "Everything has consequences whether it's good or bad. I was just tired of getting in trouble, tired of having ISS, SSC, suspended from school, coming back and then have to play catch up."

Now, Akins said she tried to radiate positivity.

"Sometimes I walk up to people I've never seen before, I don't even know their names, I just say, 'Hi,'" she said. "It just makes people's days. It makes mine too, to make other people smile."

Rogers is helping Akins with the college application process; she is on track to graduate a full year early in May.

Akins said it will be different not having Ms. Rogers right there to help all the time, but she said they will remain close.

"Oh she's going to be on speed dial," Akins said with a laugh. "I'm going to text her every day."

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