• 48°

Natchez family share similar interests at work, home

From left, Chameiko, Acquanetta, Charles, Trinity and Charnette Miller play Monopoly as a family  during their Christmas vacation. Acquanetta, and her daughters Charnette and Chameiko all work in public education, which means they all take vacation at the same time.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

From left, Chameiko, Acquanetta, Charles, Trinity and Charnette Miller play Monopoly as a family during their Christmas vacation. Acquanetta, and her daughters Charnette and Chameiko all work in public education, which means they all take vacation at the same time. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

 

By olivia mcclure

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ — Acquanetta Miller and her daughters Charnette and Chameiko have a lot in common.

They all work in education — but when they’re not working, they spend as much time together as possible.

When The Dart landed on Brenham Avenue Tuesday, the Millers were in their living room making a bucket list, inspired by their recent encounter with a driver going the wrong way on Franklin Street near the church they attend, Holy Family.

“I feel that an angel was there,” Acquanetta said.

Faith and family are most important to her, she said.

Acquanetta, who is working on her second master’s degree at Alcorn State University, is a counselor at McLaurin Elementary and an opera singer. She has performed at events in Rome and Washington, D.C. — performances she calls the “highlight of her life.”

Charnette and Chameiko quickly correct her, telling their mother they’re the highlight of her life.

Because Charnette, Chameiko and Acquanetta all work at schools, they usually have the same breaks and can spend time together.

Charnette works in Hattiesburg and is home for the holidays. She and her sister Chameiko have always been close, she said.

“They’ll be in here laughing and talking at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning,” said their father, Charles Miller.

The Millers were planning to go shopping later on the day. Even then, they won’t get far away from their shared career.

“In the mall, someone will say ‘Hi Ms. Miller’ and we all three turn around,” Acquanetta said.

“We should open our own school,” Chameiko said.

She was only joking, though. She, her sisters and daughter, Trinity, have all attended Cathedral School, which they credit with their success.

But Charnette and Chameiko say one their best teachers in life has been their father.

Charles wasn’t a teacher by trade, but “always pushed us to read and speak correctly,” Chameiko said. She and her sister are both English teachers now.

Charles retired a few years ago after working for 30 years as a mechanic an International Paper. His family members, who say he is the world’s best cook and baker, keep him busy. Charles started learning to cook when was 9 years old from his mother, who owned a restaurant.

He’s also responsible for calling his daughters every morning to wake them up, starting at 6:30 a.m. He admits he has spoiled his wife and daughters with his good cooking, but says he’s not shy about bragging on them.

Charnette teaches eighth grade English at N.R. Burger Middle School in Hattiesburg. Chameiko teaches reading in a freshman seminar at Natchez Freshman Academy. Both have master’s degrees in secondary education from William Carey University.

Charnette and Chameiko once taught at the same school in Hattiesburg. They interviewed for their jobs together and were hired together. Charnette taught eighth grade and Chameiko taught ninth grade, so they worked with many of the same children.

Now, Trinity, Chameiko’s 14-year-old daughter, is thinking about becoming a teacher — or maybe a lawyer. Either way, she wants to attend Harvard University.

The Millers have to go back to work on Jan. 5. They say they’ll miss being together at the holidays, but will be glad to return to what they love — teaching.