Dr. Queenella Miller grew up in Maywood, graduating from what is now Proviso East High School in 1958.
She went on to earn five college degrees, including two doctorates, and has been a professor of reading at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. More recently, she published her first book, "Didn’t They Know?", a fictionalized account of her childhood.
Dr. Miller spoke to the freshman writing class of Mr. Brandon Kujawa on Thursday, September 11, during which time she encouraged the students to write.
"Write, write, write, read, read, read," she said. "Learn how to write. Later on, you may need to put your thoughts on paper and have to present it to the main man."
During her presentation, Dr. Miller spoke on her life, growing up in Maywood and attending what was then Proviso Township High School. She said that after a career of teaching and service, including a stint as clerk of the village of North Riverside, she wanted to write a book about her experiences as a child.
"I wanted to write this book because I was angry, because of emotion, because of the ridiculousness of people," Dr. Miller said to the gathered students. "I was bullied as a child, and I wanted to get those thoughts on paper. I love to write."
Dr. Miller, who was inducted on to Proviso East’s Wall of Fame in 2004, said that she received a great reception from the students and staff at Proviso East, and that she looks forward to returning someday.
"I do hope to be invited to come back here because I want to give back to the community that has been inspirational in helping me get where I am at today," she said. "This has been an ideal time for me to come because it has been a historical time in our society that I’m here. I hope that some of the students were impressed to attempt something similar. I was praying that I was not talking over their heads and I hope they understood what I was saying. Writing is so important."
Mr. Tony Valente, principal at Proviso East, said that he appreciated receiving a visit from distinguished alumni who can bring a positive message to current students.
"It is always a good thing when someone who graduated from Proviso East can come back and speak to our students," Mr. Valente said. "I thank Dr. Miller for her message, and I hope that our students are inspired by what she said to accomplish what they set out to do in their lives."