From Elkton, meet Kentucky student leader Aniah, Be Strong’s January 2022 Student of the Month!
“I’ve learned that it’s good to be yourself and express yourself. It’s ok to be different from everybody else. You just have to be nice and have respect for others.”
There’s royalty among Be Strong’s Student State Representatives! When she’s not sporting her pageant crown and sash, you can find 15 year old Aniah from Kentucky serving as a leader and role model among her peers.
Having been a Student State Representative for over a year, Aniah has learned and applied many social and emotional skills that help both her and her peers live their best lives.
“If I see somebody sitting by themselves, I try to go over there and be a friend and talk to them,” Aniah said. “That way, it won’t seem like they’re so alone.”
The coronavirus pandemic has caused challenges for many of Aniah’s classmates and their families. Aniah experienced COVID-19 herself, having to take two weeks off of school. She offers an empathetic ear to those struggling.
“I see a lot of kids having breakdowns and losing family members,” Aniah said. “I’ve been there for support. Some kids come back to school after being out sick and they’re just lost in their classes. I help them catch up on work and get more involved, helping them the best way I can. I know how they feel, so I can give them advice.”
Aniah’s favorite class in school is world civics, building the groundwork for her bright future in leadership. She sees herself pursuing entrepreneurship when she’s older, starting up and owning her own business.
“I don’t know exactly what kind of business I want to do,” Aniah said. “But I do want to be my own boss and be independent.”
Aniah’s confidence and drive were first inspired by her experience in the American Beauties Plus pageant, where she was crowned winner of the teen category. She’s since learned how to come out of her shell and further develop her public speaking skills.
“The pageant has really helped me to boost my confidence,” Aniah said. “I have always been really shy, and hardly ever wanted to talk to anyone. The other ladies in the pageant have helped boost my confidence, and I’m able to stand in front of people now and not be as shy as I used to.”
Aniah now extends that same care and confidence to members of her community in need. After a 10-year-old girl suffered a broken arm and cosmetic injuries from a bicycle accident, Aniah took it upon herself to cheer her up.
“She was not able to go to school while recovering, so I knew she might be sad,” said Aniah. “I decided to get her some gifts and dress her up as a princess. We got her a crown, a wand, a sash and some toys to play with. I brought my pageant gear too, so we got to dress up together as a princess and a queen.”
Through acts of volunteerism and community leadership, Aniah has learned much about herself and the importance of helping others. Her newfound confidence is sure to lead her into a bright future.