“If you have faith in yourself, the world is all yours,” Hello. My name is Bella Marlene Petawabano, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Petawabano. I’m from Mistissini but attend school in Quebec City. I’ve been in Quebec for three years now. I’ve been doing really well in school and my personal life has also been great.

The relationship I have with my parents is very special to me. To be honest, life didn’t always treat me this well and I do still have problems but I try hard to work them out.

Before I came to Quebec, I attended school in Mistissini and Chibougamau at Maclean Memorial. The two years I spent in Chibougamau were the hardest. I came across a lot of problems. I was failing in all my courses and didn’t really seem to care. All I wanted to do was have fun with my friends and act stupid. I often got in trouble with my parents and our relationship was very rocky. I also got in trouble with my teachers and never took them seriously. They tried so hard to help me but I wanted to run my life and didn’t accept the help being offered to me. My pride got in the way.

Underneath that young, selfish and rebellious person that I was, there was someone completely different: someone who had dreams, someone who wanted to become a special person. However, I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to go in the right direction.

It was mostly my parents’ idea to send me to school in Quebec and I went along with it. I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. The last year that I attended Maclean, I failed my year. I had to repeat the same grade. When I started school again, almost all the students in my grade were at least two years youngerthan me and they obviously knew that I was older.

A lot of the students asked me how old I was and what I was doing in a lower grade. I didn’t really want to tell everyone about my past; I wanted to put it behind me. I wanted a fresh start which was difficult because I was among the very few Native students at the school. I managed to make friends and settle down. A lot of people helped me turn over a new leaf and my parents always stuck by me. I gave it my best shot to be somebody.

Some students still ask about my past, but I just try to make them accept me as I am. To those students (friends) who I do tell about my past, they don’t really believe me because they say that they can never picture me as that kind of person. It makes me feel good because I don’t have to look back any more. I feel that I was given a second chance to change my life for the better. Soon, I will be graduating and I will continue to reach my goals.

The whole point is this: It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you are a bad person; you can still make a difference in your life. Just grab a-hold of things and make them work. Dreams are very special and your dreams can come true if you make them come true. If you have faith in yourself, the world is all yours.

Finally, I’d like to thank my parents, Charlie and Beatrice, for believing in me and sending me in the right direction.