WRITING, DANCE, AND POLITICS IS ALL IN A DAY’S WORK FOR THIS STUDENT

A senior at John I. Leonard High School, Neila Montelus has a passion for writing which she indulges through her membership in her school’s poetry club. Montelus is also an author, having already published two collections of inspirational poems, Glimpse of the Soul and Crookedly Aligned.

“I started writing creatively when I was 10 and I started writing poetry when I was 12,” Montelus said. “The more I explored and wrote, the more my passion grew.”

Montelus is the editor-in-chief of John I. Leonard’s student newspaper, in addition to serving as the co-captain of the school dance team, and vice-president of the School Government Association. She even made an appearance on local news station CBS 12, during their popular segment which allows kids to give the on air weather report.

According to Montelus, managing her full plate of activities and academics is all about time management. “If you don’t manage your time well, you will not be able to take advantage of the 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86.400 seconds of the day,” she said.

Montelus’ ability to multitask and juggle many responsibilities was no doubt inherited from her mother, who raised her and a sibling as a single parent.

“My mom has been an inspiration for me. She motivates me to persevere towards my goals,” Montelus said, in talking about the deep respect and gratitude she has for her mother.

“Neila is the hardest working student I have ever had in my 11 years working for the District,” said Jeffery Coriddi, an English teacher and newspaper advisor at John I. Leonard High. “She is not afraid of branching out of her comfort zone and trying new things to succeed.”

Her vision for success includes her goal of attending Palm Beach Atlantic University to study nursing, minor in English, and continue writing. Although the financial demands of going to college will be challenging for her family, Montelus is committed to doing her best to achieve the highest level of education possible. In doing so, she hopes to serve as a positive example to her family and community.

“As I move forward and progress in age, I hope to continue to inspire people and be oblivious to anything that might hinder me from doing so,” she said.