Expanding the Roots

Junior balances a new school life and a big Girl Scout Project

Junior Makayla Miller stands in her soon-to-be garden.

Junior Makayla Miller stands in her soon-to-be garden.

Maya Gasca

As a young high school junior walks into school, she can’t help but feel a difference from when she attended as a freshman. This was not just because of the precautions made for COVID-19, nor just because she was a virtual student during the first semester of the school year. It was because this was the first time in two years that she would set foot into the school. 

After leaving school freshman year for mental health, junior Makayla Miller finally returned to Saginaw after years of learning from home with online courses. 

It was so interesting walking in a place that feels so alien yet so familiar,” Miller said. 

During the two-year hiatus, Miller took her classes through an online program. When learning in this environment, she was given daily work, similar to Canvas. However, this system allowed one course to be taken a day, with few meetings with teachers on an app called ClassBoard. 

“Online school was very different than what I did the first semester,” Miller said. “The calls were very different, the assignments were very different, and how I went through my day-to-day schedule was very different.” 

However, throughout all of this, Miller is still able to keep busy, even if the various environments she would be learning in. This was through Girl Scouts, with her mom as the troop leader.  

“I’ve been trying to handle my time better,” Miller said. I’ve been putting some stuff offespecially because of cookie seasonI feel like I’ll go for a long time without doing anything, then all of a suddenI’ll just pick up and go.” 

Though regular Tuesday meetings and selling cookies every winter have become routine, Miller has been working extra hard in this activity. This is because, as a current Girl Scout Ambassador, Miller is working on her Gold Award, a project designed by the scout to better the community. For her project, Miller plans to establish a local community garden that grows produce. 

“I was greatly inspired by the book ‘Seedfolks,’” Miller said. “Ever since we read that book in 6th grade, I knew I wanted to make a garden for our community, like in the story.” 

The garden is still a work in progress, with only the plot decided on, some research on the produce planned to be grown, and lots of woodwork being done to separate the plot out. Nevertheless, despite all the challenges she may face, Miller has family and friends behind her back to lend her a helping hand. 

“It really helps that a lot of people are willing to help me right now,” Miller said. “My dad, my grandpa, my mom, me, and my boyfriend have all been recently working on making palettes for the garden. I have a really good team, which makes me really lucky.”