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Bright Future: Young student has high aspirations

Ferriday Upper Elementary fifth-grade student Donato Miller has not just been named Ferriday Upper’s Student of the Year. He has been named the Concordia Parish School District’s Student of the Year. Miller has taken to karate, which he participates in at Crosspoint Church.  because he is already a very disciplined kid. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday Upper Elementary fifth-grade student Donato Miller has not just been named Ferriday Upper’s Student of the Year. He has been named the Concordia Parish School District’s Student of the Year. Miller has taken to karate, which he participates in at Crosspoint Church. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Ferriday — Donato Miller serves as a role model for his peers, a trait that awarded him student of the year.

Donato, 11, a student at Ferriday Upper Elementary, was chosen out from his fifth grade class as Ferriday Upper Elementary School’s Student of the Year.

After being named, Miller was asked to create a portfolio and attend an interview at the Concordia Parish School Board office in February, where he was chosen as the Concordia Parish Student of the Year after going against students from Vidalia and Monterey.

“It’s exciting,” Miller said.

Miller received the award by being a good student throughout the year, while also managing to stay atop the school’s superintendent’s list.

Miller’s mother, Tamantha Miller, who teaches third grade math at Ferriday Upper Elementary, said Miller has won several Citizenship Awards and has been on the superintendent’s list since the first grade, never scoring below an A.

Last year, Miller made a perfect score of 500 on the math section of the LEAP test.

“I’m very proud of him,” Tamantha said. “I feel like it’s a blessing to have him. I don’t put any pressure on him, his good work is something that comes natural.”

Miller said he tries to maintain a leadership role by helping his classmates any way possible.

“I try to help them with their work and keep them quiet,” Miller said.

Tamantha noted some students look up to Miller.

“It’s always ‘what’s (Donato) doing?’” Tamantha said. “It’s really not just the fifth graders, the third grade students and some fourth grade students look up to him.”

Although Miller has many mountains to climb before graduating and going to college, he one day plans to be president of the United States.

“I feel like I can make an impact in the world,” Miller said.

Each morning, Miller and his schoolmates recite a daily devotion, which is titled BEAM. B stands for  to be responsible and respectful; E means to encourage others; A means attitude makes a difference; and M means to model positive behavior, Miller said.

But reciting the school’s daily devotional is not a morning ritual for Miller, but a code he chooses to live by.

“He’s an excellent student,” Ferriday Upper Elementary Principal Joyce Russ said. “He’s the kind of student that everyone would like to have.”

In his free time, Miller participates in a karate program at Crosspoint Church in Natchez and is currently ranked with a white belt with two green stripes and two black stripes.

Miller’s favorite subject in school is reading, where he likes to read mythology and fantasy stories.

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