UAPB student turns life around after stint in alternative school
“I had to reinvent myself or end up dead or in jail – those where the only two options,” Artie Hamlett said, reflecting on his journey to graduation. He will be graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Friday with a degree in General Studies with an emphasis in mass communication.
Having gone to alternative school his 11th grade year of high school for hitting his teacher, Hamlett noticed other kids that had similar situations to his. He felt that most of them acted out because they were not getting attention at home and/or had lack of motivation. Hamlett says he reached a turning point in his bad behavior when he saw his mother cry as a result of him getting kicked out of high school. His mother is actually his aunt that took him in and treated Hamlett like one of her own.
“I was hurting her. It just wasn’t right looking at her tear up because of me. That was the worst thing I could have experienced as a child,” Hamlett said. “From then on, I slowed down on the acting out and hanging out with neighborhood kids and eventually started going to church.”
With an initial desire to attend Tennessee State University, he changed his mind after experiencing student life at a social function at UAPB. Since his arrival at UAPB, Hamlett says he was able to reinvent himself and experience a new life. He says he no longer waits for an opportunity to present itself – he now creates them. He has explored every facet of his talents as a DJ, event planner, and ultimately community advocate, having fed more than 400 people over a series of four events. Also involved in the union programming board his first two years, he eventually became employed by UPS and focused on his grades. In the midst of all of that, he managed to host a Stop the Violence Peace Rally and Thanksgiving Giveaway.
After graduation, Hamlett plans to move up the ladder at his current employer, and go to trade school to receive an AC and Heating license. With dreams of owning his own AC and Heating business, he can focus all of his time on building a strong family structure and growing generational wealth. Hamlett lives life by the motto instilled in him by his mother, “Your best is never good enough unless you try harder and harder each day.”
Preparing to walk across the stage at the Pine Bluff Convention Center in a few days, the Memphis, Tennessee native will commence a new chapter in his life as a college graduate.
“I didn’t really care at the time, but making my mom proud was a good enough reason to turn it all around,” Hamlett said. “I don’t care about other stuff. I’m about building my family structure back and starting something that will mean something in five years!”