Ayanna joined the Academy in September 2017. Both Ayanna and her mother wanted a small Christian school as an alternative to public school. Once they were sure the Academy was the right fit, they worked together with Gina Maio to find a way for Ayanna and her brother to use a bus route to get to the Academy each day.
That was over a year ago, and today Ayanna is thriving as a Senior and making an incredible impact at the Academy. Mallory Hansen, the Academy’s School Counselor, gushes about all the ways Ayanna helps create a positive school culture: “She helps her friends become stronger leaders. She’s more encouraging, and she’s set apart, because she sets an example… She knows she has a great opportunity here and she taps into that.”
One of the ways Ayanna has modeled this is through her leadership with the praise dance team. Last year Ayanna and another student, Da’Kaila, realized they needed a way to process difficult and overwhelming challenges in their lives. They found an outlet through praise dance. The team has become a place where students can process their emotions and circumstances through worship and prayer. Now the manager of the team, Ayanna has learned how to communicate with people who are different than her and how to handle group dynamics with understanding and grace.
Academically, Ayanna has thrived - she is already applying to colleges and is looking to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism, interests the Academy has already given her a chance to cultivate. Last year while serving with Student Government, Ayanna and one of her teachers, Chandra Wright, put together a radio show that broadcast school announcements to the student body.
Ms. Wright’s impact in her life has also extended beyond the classroom. Ayanna recognized the need for an African-American woman mentor, and Ms. Wright offered to meet regularly with her. From discussing what it means to respect yourself to exploring new restaurants to attending community events, their mentoring and discipling relationship has been a pivotal part of Ayanna’s experience at the Academy.
“Church Hill Academy is a great school. They definitely prepare you for the future and it’s very family-oriented.”
Ayanna’s story originally appeared in the 2017-2018 Annual Report.