Patrick Miller understands the struggle of growing up gay. Fueled by his experiences has a gay educator, Miller is starting up a scholarship to help Coppell’s LGBTQ youth.
A music teacher at Town Center Elementary, Miller said he wants the scholarship to be awarded to any LGBTQ youth at Coppell High School or New Tech @ Coppell who has shown positive leadership within the community.
“I just feel like they (LGBTQ students) don’t … really have a strong voice in the community,” he said. “I think the scholarship would say ‘hey we see you and not only do we see you in our community, we also see you doing good in the community.’ I think that would be very empowering for youth.”
Miller said several things inspired him to start this effort. For instance, he said he’s heard many stories of Coppell alumni who grew up gay and struggled. In addition he’s heard stories from parents of LGBTQ children and their struggles.
Miller is currently raising funds for the scholarship, which is planned to award $2,500. If things go well the hope is to award it every year. Miller said he didn’t get financial support for college after he came out as gay and understands that there are many in the same boat.
“I remember when I came out, my dad told me he wasn’t paying for college anymore ... because he was embarrassed of having a gay son,” Miller said. “I know that’s a fear for a lot of high school students to actually tell their parents that they’re gay because they’re at a very crucial time in their life.”
So far Miller has received support from the district and administration for his efforts. The journey wasn’t always easy, however. Miller wanted to train staff at his campus about LGBTQ issues as well as host a panel for parents with LGBTQ children.
He said he didn’t get a lot of support with those efforts, however he will be able to speak to the district about the topic during the district’s Social Emotional Learning Conference this summer.
In addition, Miller said he’s been working with the Cozby Library to host a trans or drag story hour. He’s also put in a proposal through the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) to present the scholarship at the state level.
Miller won’t be returning as a teacher to Coppell ISD next year, but he sees his scholarship as a gift he’s leaving for Coppell.
“(It’s) something I want do for the community,” he said.