Research has shown that when students feel safe and have a sense of belonging, they tend to do well academically. Aniya Clark, an outstanding 11th-grade student at Bremerton High School, is currently enrolled in the 'Running Start' program and is a member of VOPIN's 'Navigating Education' initiative. Aniya offers peer-to-peer math tutoring to her fellow students, inspiring them to pursue their aspirations. In a recent interview, she shared her perspective on different aspects of her life and her involvement with VOPIN.
"Voices of Pacific Islander Island Nations? I think it's definitely a great organization, and I really love that the focus is on helping bridge the disparities for communities of color such as Pacific Islanders. I think that's really great, and that's definitely what the Bremerton and Washington community needs, and I'm happy to be a part of it."
Aniya's diverse interests and hobbies include a strong passion for creating art, reading her extensive book collection, and enjoying playing multiplayer video games with her friends. Aniya is of a mixed heritage. Aniya's mother is of Filipino descent, and her father is African American, currently serving in the U.S. Navy for over twenty years. Salamat po sa inyo, Mr. and Mrs. Clark!
"VOPIN has allowed me to talk to more people and to understand different points of views. Also, it allows me to develop leadership skills because I have unique opportunities to work with some of my fellow classmates and students and really develop my skills there that I can use in the future."
She adds, "VOPIN has helped me to really put my skills into use, into thinking about ways that we can make Bremerton and also surrounding areas better and stronger for Pacific Island communities."
Highlighting how VOPIN has broadened her perspective and inspired her to be an active advocate for her community, Aniya envisions a stronger, more vibrant Bremerton for Pacific Island communities and is committed to making that vision a reality.
In encouraging her fellow Pacific Islander students, she urges them to follow their dreams and lean on the community, saying, "My advice is to always have people around you. There is a community that is willing to support you when you need support and uplifting. Just don't look back, do follow your dreams!"
We are grateful to have Aniya Clark involved in VOPIN's Navigating Education project by sharing her extraordinary potential and leading by example for her fellow students.