'It's like he's a different person': Formerly angry Oromocto boy earns award

'It's like he's a different person': Formerly angry Oromocto boy earns award

On his very first day of Grade 7, Carson Deveaux got into a full-on fist fight.

"It just got out of hand," he said. "We were pushing and then it turned into an all out fist fight."

The fighting started in elementary school, when the now Grade 8 student struggled to keep his temper under control.

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Carson, who attends Harold Peterson Middle School in Oromocto, would often get angry for no reason and would have a hard time concentrating in class. His teacher Pamela Thomas described it as "blind rage," which started back in Grade 3.

"He would hang onto a negative emotion for the remainder of the day and sometimes into the next day and would have a hard time getting back to a positive place in his mind," said Thomas.

Carson's mom, Jennifer, said his trouble at school trickled into his home life as well.

"It was certainly challenging at times," she said. "It was turmoil at home a lot of times."

Deveaux said her son was later diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, in which a person engages in argumentative and defiant behaviour and feels angry and irritable. 

"There's a lot of out of control behaviour that comes with that," Deveaux said in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton. 

Fighting for a change

Halfway through Grade 7, Carson decided the anger had to stop.

He made a small attitude adjustment and set new goals for himself.

"I wanted to try to change," he said.

After several visits to the doctor after he was diagnosed, Carson also received help from medication that's typically used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"It helps me have one second to think, to think ... 'What am I going to do?'" he said.

On Wednesday, Carson will be recognized at the 23rd annual Turnaround Achievement Awards in Fredericton, an event that rewards students in the region who have turned their struggles into achievements both at home and at school. 

Carson was nominated by Thomas for his change in behaviour over the past three years. 

"It's almost like he stepped outside himself and saw what he was doing and went, 'No this can't keep going on,'" Thomas said.

"It's like he's a different person," said Thomas. 

These days, Carson can often be found smiling and chatting with his peers and he's become a lot more self-aware, Thomas said.

He's ready to take the next step into Grade 9.

"Ultimately, the success comes when the student decides for themselves," said Thomas.