Aniah holding up her college pennant

Aniaha is member of the AF University Prep High Class of 2019. Below is a version of the speech she delivered on Senior Signing Day.

Those who know me, and most likely those who don’t, probably know that I am…well…quirky. To say the least.

I break into dance in the middle of class, and I make seriously corny jokes. I conquered this master level of weirdness back in middle school, but it wasn’t until recently that I have let my weird shine beyond the comfort of those closest to me.

When I graduated from middle school, I made a goal for myself to become more normal. To reinvent myself to become less weird, to become what I thought would be better. I was incredibly close to giving up the things that made me unique and different from everyone in the class, like being the awkward girl who does Drake’s infamous “Hotline Bling” in the back of the room, or the teary girl at every Pixar movie, or the super squealy girl trying to contain her excitement.

I wanted to give up anything that made me different. Anything that ensured I wasn’t a regular face in the crowd. Anything that made me somehow known.

I wanted to give up myself.

And then, two things happened:

Kaliya, my sister, came into my life. She finally gave me the big sister shoes to fill I’d wanted to fill for so long, giving me a reason to keep going, and reminding me that being intelligent didn’t mean giving up my awkward, comedic self. While we can both reach the stars, I want her to always reach the further one.

And, I discovered poetry.

Spoken word.


And I learned that being different is actually what makes me, my words, my thoughts, and my feelings important. Being different is what makes us interesting. What makes us matter. I proudly became a role model not just to Kaliya, but to my friends, myself, and to anyone who might feel a little different, out of the box, or like they don’t belong.

And that’s how I want to be known. Throughout my school, family, and friends. I want to be known for my weird, yet always positive attitude.

For the super lame corny jokes and pick-up lines I tell.
For the awkward dance moves during all the wrong times.
For the head-turning questions.
But most of all, for my growing confidence to showcase how different and unique I am.

And let me tell you, Middle School Aniaha would be so proud as I continue to be as different and weird as ever, when in the fall of 2019, I attend Denison University!

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