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Finding Your Voice

“Being in Girl Scouts for 11 years taught me to use my voice to create positive changes in my community. There’s an achievement gap among minority students, especially among African American students, which leads to lower GPAs and test scores, and increased high-school dropout rates. All of these things can and often do lead to things like unemployment, poverty and even incarceration. I’ve always loved to learn and wanted to find a way to inspire my peers to achieve higher education and do better in life in general.”

“There’s where the idea for my symposium, Education Matters in Black Lives, came from. So I set up a symposium with high school and college counselors, as well as current college students, who could talk to and mentor 200 underserved students in the Sacramento area. If I’ve reached even one student and influenced them to empower themselves through education, I’ve done what I set out to do—but I hope that my message and the message of all the mentors I was able to involve continues to affect the young people of my town and my community in general.”

Editor’s Note: Not only did Ayana earn the Girl Scout Gold Award in 2016 for her project, but she was also named one of Girl Scouts of the USA’s National Young Woman of Distinction for that year. She graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 2017, and will be a freshman at Harvard University in the fall.


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