October is National Bullying Prevention Month. To commemorate, we are sharing the inspiring story of a Primavera student. Check out her story below.
Djanice Azevedo, senior
When Djanice Azevedo, 18, of Prescott Valley, Arizona, was asked to describe what life was like growing up, she said it was like a rollercoaster—especially when it came to school.
She didn’t stay with the same friends for very long and was always searching for new people to connect with. And while she was placed in advanced classes, she often felt ‘less than’ when comparing herself to her peers. In turn, she also struggled with homework and regularly stayed home “sick” in order to get extra work done.
During this time, Djanice was picked on at school. She can even recall a specific time when the bullying escalated to a scary level.
“One girl started threatening me to the point where I just wanted to hide away. I felt like everyone was ganging up on me and cornering me so that I couldn’t breathe,” Djanice recollects.
Then one day, everything changed—she found out she was pregnant. That’s when she discovered Primavera and decided to make the switch from her traditional high school.
Now a senior with a three-year-old son named Jeremia, Djanice is thriving. She has the flexibility she needs to take care of her little boy and excel in her classes.
“I love that I can do my work for the day in the morning before my son wakes up or get it done after he goes to sleep,” Djanice says. “It’s the best because I don’t think I would still be able to graduate at 18 without Primavera.”
Despite everything, she has found solace in painting and uses it a positive outlet and a way to have alone time when she can just focus on herself.
“Painting has been an amazing stress outlet for me,” Djanice explains. “When I paint, the rest of the world almost disappears. It is a time where nothing else matters and I can just put my thoughts and emotions onto a canvas. It is a nice quiet time for me where it’s like the rest of the world just disappears.”
And the best part about painting is how much freedom she has with it.
“My favorite part about painting is that no matter what, I can always start over. Even when a painting is dry—if I don’t like the outcome, I can paint over it and start a new project,” she says.
The lightning is supposed to represent the hurt and pain others can bring on you. The lightning (pain) helps to fill the canvas that is life. If we only ever felt joy, we wouldn’t know how amazing the joy is because the dark moments make the light even brighter.
Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, Primavera Online High School has been featuring artwork submitted by students who have been affected by bullying. When Djanice saw this contest, she knew she had to submit one of her pieces of art.
Djanice also wants to give advice to other students at Primavera and across Arizona who are being bullied.
“I would tell other students who are struggling with bullying that they should find a new environment to make themselves comfortable,” Djanice says. “Find a group of friends, a school club, or even just a new school that makes you have a support system so that you don’t feel like you’re under constant scrutiny.”
Thanks for sharing, Djanice!
What do you think of Djanice’s story? Share with us in the comments below!