Arkansas is the sixth state Central Junior High ninth grader Thubthamany Millian (Mille) Thongdy has lived in. She wasn’t expecting anything different. However, principal Dr. Todd Loftin and the school culture have changed her life.
“When I came to Central I was expecting mean teachers,” says Millie, who was in school in Louisiana as an eighth grader. “Instead, all the teachers have been great. They care about me making good grades. The counselor has helped me with some of my problems. They’ve made me feel special.
“I never imagined getting all this. Dr. Loftin gives me and all the students good opportunities. He got me in a business class that has been really good.”
Business class and being a member of FCCLA (Family Career and Community Leaders of America) have prompted Millie to organize fund raisers to help children in homeless shelters as well as those in foster care.
“We are providing toys for the forgotten kids,” she says. “My mom and her sister went through foster care. They saw many kids without enough food. I want to volunteer for a Christmas party for foster kids.”
She also wants to own a business someday. In fact, she can hardly wait.
“I want to get a real estate license when I am 18 or 19 after graduating from high school,” says Millie. “Then I want to develop my own business and invest in other businesses. Dr. Loftin wants me to go to college, so maybe that will happen. But, I know real estate is my calling. I want to sell land and houses.”
What got her so interested in real estate?
“I watched real estate shows on television when I was younger, Millie responds. “Those were the best shows ever. They sold big, beautiful houses. Who wouldn’t want to buy those kind of houses? By the time I am 25 I want to own a big home.”
Has this desire all come since she has been at Central Junior High?
“Motivation has come from being at Central,” says Millie, who has lived in Minnesota, Florida, Texas and Tennessee besides Louisiana and Arkansas. “Being a member of FCCLA has been really good. We made a trip to Russellville and I won an award. We are doing a fundraiser through FCCLA. We hope to raise at least $300 for blankets for the homeless and donate any more money raised to help provide hygiene products for babies.
“If it wasn’t for Central Junior High, I wouldn’t have any goals, good friends or good grades. I wouldn’t be involved in projects. When I first came I didn’t want to make friends but now I have so many good friends who support me for who I am. I appreciate everyone at the school.”
She also appreciates her mother who “teaches me that everyone should live a great life. When things weren’t good for mom, she still would give what she had to someone else. She said it was a blessing to give.”
Millie has taken the lesson of giving to another level. Her story is another reason Springdale Public Schools are #THEChoice.