13. McKinlee Prince-Jeffries, 16, says, “Learn how to protect your name.”

On the outside McKinlee Prince-Jeffries is a privileged girl. Her family owns one of the most famous restaurants in America: Prince’s Hot Chicken. She attends an elite prep school and lives in a genteel neighborhood.

On the inside she is a young woman who has been fighting for her life.

Hand written journal entries featuring McKinlee's poems and photo collage.
Page of “We Are Nashville” author’s journal featuring quotes from McKinlee Prince-Jeffries.

At a very young age McKinlee had difficulty with school work. After years of doctors’ evaluations and school evaluations failed to determine the problem one school administrator told McKinlee’s mother maybe she should face the reality McKinlee may not be capable of the work and should look at enrolling in a “special” school, one better suited for her seeming incapabilities.

But her mother knew this wasn’t true. Following her motherly instinct she went to yet another physician for an evaluation. She said when they entered this doctor’s office he took one look at McKinlee and said he knew the problem. Tests soon after revealed he was correct: McKinlee was diagnosed with a form of epilepsy.

Her problem wasn’t a lack of intelligence or capability. They learned that she had most likely been having mini seizures throughout her life. They put her on medication and immediately she blossomed.

Now she attends an elite prep school and is hoping to go to law school or maybe become a writer.

Her struggle has made her empathetic and thoughtful. Her journal is full of poetry and wise words.

The Door Is Closing.

As the door closes

Speak up for youself.

Keep your gloves on.

Stay put.

Learn how to protect your name.

Complete your course with class.

No matter what,

complete your course.

BELOW: CLICK FOR SLIDESHOW OF MCKINLEE’S POEMS

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