Alumni Highlight: Aryanna Lewis
Recently, we caught up with St. HOPE alumnae, Aryanna Lewis, to discuss her recently being crowned as Miss Black Sacramento. Aryanna who attended St. HOPE Public Schools from Kindergarten - High School, graduated from Sac High, Class of 2014 and was her class Student Body Vice President. She credits her St. HOPE background as the foundation of her morals and as the pathway that lead her to reach higher goals. We are certainly proud of Aryanna’s accomplishments and how she continues to be a positive representative of our St. HOPE family!
What inspired you to enter the Miss Black Sacramento Pageant and how was that experience?
Nursing school is expensive so I wanted to apply to as many scholarships as possible. I participated in the MBS (Miss Black Sacramento Pageant) back in 2013 and placed 2nd runner up so I was familiar with the program. Miss Black Sacramento also stands for Mentoring Black Sisters designed to build leaders, grow confidence, and be an example. I felt that I embodied all of what MBS stands for so I decided to complete it. The experience was difficult because of COVID-19 but I overall enjoyed meeting amazing women, learning more about myself, and networking with women who are equally passionate about making a difference in their community.
What impact do you believe St. HOPE has had on your current path?
The five pillars have continued to be the foundation of my morals. High expectations – throughout my St. HOPE experience has been the bar to set my goals high. Stepping into college and my entrepreneurial endeavors I continued with this mantra. The St. HOPE organization in my time, encompassed passionate educators, leaders, & change makers dedicated to creating leaders out students like myself. I set a goal, I make pathways to accomplish my goals, and I work at them daily. Getting into nursing school was just one example. More importantly, I started a non-profit called Heroes 4 the Youth. an organization designed to create a sustainable foundation for high school students to prepare them as they step into adulthood. Choice and Commitment - the second pillar. Not everyone was forced or assigned to go to St. Hope Public Schools. By making the choice to be in a system that holds students to a higher standard means having discipline and dedication to my studies. I also took this message with me and allowed it to fuel my decision-making skills. Knowing what I want, who I stand for and being confident in that has landed me jobs in places such as Haas School of Business at Cal Berkeley, Corporate Amazon & Delta Airlines Logistics. The sky’s the limit, commit to your goals, and choose to apply effort and commit to that. Thanks to St. HOPE, I believe and value that. The last three pillars, More Time, Focus on Results and Power to Lead have also been key elements in my early success. I am grateful that St. HOPE provided students with a moral compass.
What made you decide to study Nursing?
After my close relative passed away due to inequities in healthcare I grew very passionate about the healthcare industry and the human body. I never wanted another family to experience the pain and turmoil that my family had to endure because of insurance and affordability concerns. I also made the choice to step into nursing because I wanted to leverage my educational experiences with my non-profit. Under mental health and health awareness we focus on living a healthy life: mentally, spiritually, emotionally & physically. Nursing will aid in my curriculum and ability to host a plethora of clinics to offer free support to members or low representing communities.
What inspires you most?
My family inspires me. I have a support system that never wavers and every step of the way rather it be in my educational endeavors, my non-profit, my small business, or my mental health. The love, the passion and support that I get from watching them do what they love or fighting for what they love gives me the motivation and confidence to exude the same energy in my life. My grandfather is a key ingredient in my life. He pushes me to take accountability for the elements in my life that I can control. To be patient with myself about the things I cannot control. And to be consistent with learning so that if I am unaware of my direction I have the knowledge to give me leverage and resources.
What do you believe benefit you most from attending St. HOPE schools?
St. HOPE gave me a community. Going to schools with small
populations meant that everyone knew each other or of one
another. I believe that the most important piece of life is to
stand for something. St. HOPE even with its limited resources
gave students something to stand for. I gained the power to stand
tall amidst adversities for my community and that is something
not everyone can say!