My name is Mia-Aizada. I’m a senior at Summit Sierra, a charter public high school in Seattle. Growing up school for me was always difficult.
In elementary school, I had trouble focusing on my work and turning in assignments on time. For 6th grade my family chose to send me to a school that we were hoping would be a better fit.
During the next five years, I felt like I didn’t fit in. I struggled with classes and just didn’t feel like the best version of myself. This impacted my self-confidence and my attitude towards learning. In elementary school, I had been a very outgoing and a bubbly kid who loved to be in the spotlight. But starting in middle school, I would have panic attacks and feel paralyzed when it came time to present in front of the class. I became very self-conscious about getting called on in class, afraid that I’d say the wrong thing or get nervous and panic.
I needed a change.
I heard about Sierra from some friends that I grew up with. I took a tour and liked the style of learning and decided to enroll. Immediately, I felt like I was accepted by my peers and teachers. I was able to be myself. From day one, my teachers looked out for me and wanted me to be my best self academically and as a person. I became more comfortable sharing my opinion in class discussions and presenting my ideas in front of my peers.
It wasn’t far into my junior year when I visited my old school. I saw a group of my old friends and the first thing they said to me was “you look so much happier now.”
Along with the positive shift in my emotions and self-confidence, with a lot of hard work, my grades got better. I went from Cs and Ds to getting As and Bs at Sierra, and even taking AP courses.
I don’t know where I would be without the support from my teachers, mentors, and peers. Even though I struggled before coming here as a junior, I look back and realize that the struggle was worth it, and I’m so proud of what I’ve overcome because of the opportunities that Sierra has given me to thrive and be involved.
Today, I am an active member of our student body. I represent my mentor group in our student government, and I serve on the Sierra Spirit leadership team. Together with my fellow members of student government, I helped start up Sierra’s campus store. I am also active in Yearbook and Key Club.
This spring, I’ll be among the first charter public high school graduates in Washington state, and I’ll be ready for college. I have dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer so that I can help protect human and civil rights of kids and families. With the help and support of my Summit Sierra family, I truly believe that I’ll accomplish my goals and make a positive impact on my community.