ORLANDO, FL – Mia Freytas navigates the hallways of Renaissance Charter School at Hunter’s Creek like a rock star, high-fiving teachers, blowing kisses to first-graders who rush up to hug her, and leaning in close to girls who grab her hands and whisper secrets.
Bobbing along the bustling corridors during class change, the bubbly 14-year-old, auburn curls bouncing, hustles so she won’t be late.
These days, it’s important to her to show up on time.
A year ago, the same girl arrived at Renaissance angry and guarded, angling for a fight. Her teachers saw promise but wondered how long it would take for her to settle in. They worried when she neglected to turn in assignments and picked fights with classmates.
In hindsight, Mia knows she had some growing up to do.