Ayana Angel
Triumph Preschool Instructional Aide


1. How long have you been with St. HOPE?

I have worked for St. HOPE since August of 2015 and also graduated from Sac High in 2011. 

2. What is your commitment to urban education and why have you chose to work at SHPS?

I am very invested in the vision of St. HOPE because I live right here in Oak Park. This is where my family lives, my friends hang out, and this is where I would like for my son to learn some of life’s most important lessons. Being a Sac High graduate, I know firsthand the impact St. HOPE had on my life. During high school I was stuck in the mindset that my biggest accomplishment in life would be to graduate high school, but that all changed. Sac High taught me how to carry myself as an educated black woman without hiding my black culture. I was accepted for who I am and valued as such. When I became pregnant at sixteen with my son, Sac High staff babysat while I studied, filled out college applications, and even cheered. They were supposed to walk away, expect me to fail, and label my son’s father. Instead, they showed me that there is no circumstance that can stop my success if I am willing to put in the hard work. I am now in my last year at UC Davis, married to my son’s father, and I am giving Triumph all I’ve got! None of what’s happening in my life today would be if I didn’t receive that overflowing support during my high school years. Their little bit of effort to show me my worth is what draws me back to St. HOPE to give back to my community and recreate the same experience that makes me who I am today. I want to give to someone else what was given to me so I can make the difference in someones life that was made in mine. I’m in it for the long haul.

3. What are your greatest highlights in working in education?

One of my greatest highlights of working in education is watching students develop a passion for learning. Even on their worst days you can tell they want better for themselves and when they come back the next day, the next week, the next month, or even the next year, you can tell the difference your daily effort made in how they see themselves. Also, seeing their parents’ reactions to what we do everyday warms my heart! They do the nitty gritty hard work outside of the 7:30-5:30 business hours but they still stop to acknowledge we are working toward a common goal. 

4. What book ( fiction or non-fiction) has influenced you the most?

The book that has most inspired me does not relate to education but I feel as though it sets the foundation for my servitude to my community. It encourages me even on the worst days that I am working for something bigger than me, St. HOPE, and Oak Park. It keeps me humble and tireless of doing good. My favorite book is the Bible.