Danyelle Tillman: Learning to Focus

Photo and story by Bradley Mitchell

Danyelle Tillman was at school in math class being hyperactive on May 2, 2011. She was on the phone with a friend about a school project when her sister Octavia came into the room talking loud and throwing things. After school at 5 p.m., Tillman asked Octavia to be quiet because she was already having trouble sitting down and focusing.

The next day on May 3, Tillman had a doctor’s appointment at Central Mississippi Medical Center after school. As she was leaving, a teacher spotted her and her father getting into the car and rushed over.

“Mr. Tillman, your daughter is a spectacular student, but she has a very hard time staying focused. She moves around the class from the time she enters until the time she leaves.”

“Thanks for notifying me,” her father responded.

On the way to CMMC, Tillman was very hyperactive. At the end of the examination, the doctor said, “You are very healthy.”

As they were walking out, Tillman told the doctor about his daughter being hyperactive, and he sent her to Hinds Behavioral Health Service where a specialist diagnosed her with ADHD. As Tillman got older and took the medicine for her ADHD, she learned to control her hyperactivity.

Tillman has always talked about getting a car, but her father felt that her ADHD was going to be a problem. She wanted to use transportation to the Youth Media Project as a test to show him that her ADHD is not a problem anymore. So he bought a car for her and her sister Octavia to have transportation to and from the program.

A senior at Murrah High School in fall 2018, Tillman wants go to Jackson State University to get her bachelor’s degree in psychology and later attend graduate school. After she gets her degrees, she would like to open up her own practice.

“I will not let ADHD keep me from achieving my goals,” she says.

Tillman has played tennis at Murrah since she was a sophomore. This summer, she wanted to do something constructive, so she went online and searched youth programs and found the Mississippi Youth Media Project. Tillman told her father about YMP, and he asked her, “If I enroll you, what do you plan on learning?”

“I want to learn how to become a photographer,” she says. Now Tillman is enjoying being a student journalist at the Youth Media Project and getting to know the YMP family.

Bradley Mitchell is an 11th grader at Jim Hill High School and a student journalist at the Youth Media Project.

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