When Douglas Miller began taking classes at Daytona State College as a dual enrolled Seabreeze High School senior, he quickly realized that he had found the right place to explore his future in college.
During Daytona State’s 52nd annual commencement exercises in May, the 20-year-old associate of arts degree graduate and Phi Theta Kappa president expressed gratitude for those who helped him along the way. He also encouraged his fellow Class of 2012 candidates to be grateful for the friends, family and faculty who supported them during their own journeys toward graduation, and urged them to commit to lifelong learning and contributing, even in small ways, to their communities, society and the world in general.
“It always comes back to gratitude and showing appreciation for how far you’ve come,” he said. “Help others, do small things each day to help make the world a better place. Think about what you can do in the future to help others reach their dreams.”
Miller is no stranger lifelong learning and serving others. He could have chosen anywhere to get his start on college. For sure, he already was well-focused prior to attending his first classes at Daytona State. He was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, enrolled in the Seabreeze Aerospace Academy and was a member of Teen Court, a program in which minor juvenile offenses, with approval by the Office of the State Attorney, are allowed to be prosecuted and judged by high school peer groups rather than through juvenile court. He also worked part-time in the law office of family friend and mentor Melvin Stack, an experience that solidified his goal to pursue a legal career.
Miller had already completed the first half of his freshman year in college by the time he earned his high school diploma from Seabreeze in 2010. He earned high honors while pursuing his degree at Daytona State, and also continued to be active outside the classroom, volunteering with the Conklin Center for the Blind and continuing his work with Habitat for Humanity. Last year, he was elected president of Daytona State’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society whose members are selected based on their leadership skills, scholarship and community service. In July, Miller will transfer as a junior to the University of Florida, Gainesville, where he will major in Political Science, then ultimately, enroll in law school.
Just prior to speaking with his fellow graduates during commencement exercises, Miller reflected on his Daytona State College experience. “This was a great place to start my college education,” he said. “I liked the environment when I was dual enrolled. I liked the faculty. I got a lot of one-on-one attention from them. Daytona State helped me get my feet wet and explore my options.”