Diamante came to Full Service Schools with a referral for therapeutic services. A shy and quiet student, Diamante suffered from a stutter and had difficulty making friends.
To help Diamante come out of his shell, his advocate signed him up for a leadership program that brings together students from Ribault and Raines high schools.
The first meeting was difficult. Diamante’s stutter made him the target of ridicule, and another student called him stupid. He told his advocate he never wanted to go back, but she insisted that he keep trying.
From then on, Diamante began to shine. At the next meeting, the students began planning a Halloween event, and Diamante took on a leadership role. His social skills improved, he gained confidence, and he lost his stutter.
His new confidence and abilities even led him to successfully push for the reinstatement of Ribault’s debate team, where he went on to win the state competition and proceeded to the national level.
“Full Service Schools never let me give up, and always pushed me to do my best,” he said. “It was the best thing for me socially, mentally, and emotionally.”
Beyond the debate team, Diamante participates in many school activites, including the Video Games in Pop Culture Club, where he’s been able to connect with friends who have similar interests. He’s active in his church, and his speaking skills have led him to speak at United Way campaign events and in front of the board of trustees.
Diamante’s mother couldn’t be happier with his progress. “Full Service Schools has really helped him come out of his shell. He’s more focused and open, and he has more friends,” she said.
Now a rising senior, Diamante would like to attend UF or Georgia Tech for college and become a writer.
Statement from United Way of Northeast Florida President and CEO Michelle Braun on MacKenzie Scott’s historic gift