If you go to Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, you might run into a young woman who struts around campus like she owns the place, a young woman who’s involved in just about every activity that goes on at this historic school. Her name is Miriam Canales, and it wasn’t always like this.
“I was a very shy person then, I just blossomed now!’ Miriam said, laughing at herself.
She definitely did blossom. Miriam went from an ultra-shy wallflower to president of the senior class. She has an entourage now, surrounded by admiring friends and classmates.
“I mean, words can’t express how proud I am of this child,” said teacher Corey Legrand. “I mean at first she was such an introverted student, she was the type where you’d call attendance and she wouldn’t even say here.”
Miriam credits Legrand’s encouragement for her metamorphosis.
“As a freshman I was very antisocial, I didn’t want to talk to anybody, I didn’t want to do anything, I would always be in the house, never did anything,” Miriam said.
Now she’s the gunnery sergeant in the J.R.O.T.C. program, captain of the volleyball team, and she was a Miami Dolphins Student of the Week for South Florida. Miriam is president of the Spirit Club and president of the Spanish Club. She went from introvert to extrovert, inspiring her peers along the way.
“She’s very dedicated to being involved in the school and like making the school a better place,” said classmate Uchenna Ezewike.
“What makes her special?” Asks best friend Elizabteh Fuentes? “Everything makes her special, she actually inspires people to do everything.”
Alnesha Brown, another classmate, says Miriam is a motivator.
“Her thing is, just put your mind to it and you can do anything, don’t give up,” Alnesha said.
Miriam sees leadership as a calling now.