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Nyla White (Union County Early College)

What are your most and least favorite subjects and why?

My favorite subjects are math and history. I love math, I’m currently in an honors math III class. I love how you can take a regular equation and through previous knowledge or current knowledge, you can solve a problem. As long as that might take because it can be extremely tedious. You can take an ordinary problem and learn more about it as you work to solve it.

History because I like knowing more about the past so it can help to solve problems in the future. For example, when COVID shut down the economy there was the 1929 Great Depression to learn from. To me, the comparison between what they did and how technology, innovation, and education can solve it is fascinating. 

I do not have a least favorite subject, although my earth and environmental science class is not as interesting to me.  

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be and why?

If I could travel anywhere it would be Colombia, South America. I was part of the dual language immersion program in what was previously known as Sun Valley Elementary, which is now Shiloh Primary and Elementary. I would love to travel there because a lot of my teachers were from there. They would often share parts of their culture whether it was candy, pictures or telling us more about Colombia’s history.

I feel like it is a beautiful place. It’s a shame that so much is happening to where it is a threat for outsiders to travel there. When it is safe, I’d love to visit the capital of Bogotá and go to the beaches, which are beautiful from the pictures I’ve seen. I’d love to do some hiking in the mountains and there is so much nature to experience. 

What careers interest you?

One of my goals is to become a defense attorney similar to Attorney Ben Crump. I find it interesting because I’m passionate about advocacy and being a voice for others. I enjoy helping my community and having a service mindset.

In history, we learned about the American Revolution and the foundational political systems of the United States. It was helpful because to become a lawyer you need to know all the laws, bills and rights. That was very helpful to me. I have been talking with my counselor and college coordinator about taking a criminal justice course at South Piedmont Community College. I've also been talking about getting a certificate in it. 

What clubs or activities do you participate in? And why? 

I am a part of the student council to ensure everyone has the best experience possible here. Even though we are a small school and not like traditional high schools in the county, we still try to make it inclusive and fun. There is more pressure because you are attending high school and college classes but we don’t solely focus on academics. 

Outside of school, I am a fellow with the Monroe Democracy Center, a local nonprofit that works to engage voters and let them know their rights. We want people to know they aren’t just a number and have a voice and a say in the community. 

I’m also the youth council president for the NAACP Youth Council along the same lines of advocacy and things of that nature. I’m a member of the Union County Delta Sigma Theta’s Delta Gems Academy, a youth empowerment group. They help African American women feel safe and confident while learning about finances and community service.

I have managed to strike a good balance between my academics and community service, even though it was a little challenging at the beginning of the school year. I’ve been able to maintain A/B honor roll and I’m very proud of myself for that. It’s not about running out of time; it’s about knowing how to manage it.   

If you had to choose between spaghetti or pizza, which would you choose?

I’m going to have to go with pizza. There are so many different flavor combinations. It wouldn’t make sense to have a meat lover's pasta or at least not in my mind. You can do that with pizza and add vegetables, meats, cheeses and sauces. There is more variety.

What three words best describe you?

  1. Loyal because I’m committed to my family and friends.
  2. Empathetic because I always try to listen first and let people explain themselves before sharing my insight. 
  3. Communicative because if there is something that bothers me, I’m going to be vocal about it. It might take me a minute to know how I’ll go about addressing it, but I will always say something. 

What is your happiest school memory?

My happiest school memory was last year around this same time. Weddington Middle hosts its BFF (Baskets, Food, Fun) event. It’s their carnival fundraiser and I went with one of my best friends and we had so much fun. We went on the rides and got funnel cakes and ice cream. I ate so much junk that day but it was worth it. We have so many pictures and memories. It was an unforgettable day. 

Many of my friends go to Weddington High so we are going to go again this year to make more memories.

What advice would you give your parents or teachers?

I would suggest that they listen more to find a deeper understanding of what we are saying. Words are such a powerful thing to where if you’re talking or even if you are listening, you’re not going to understand every single word that comes out of somebody’s mouth. It’s going to be a lot of your own interpretation. As a teenager and as a high school student, I’m not always going to be able to effectively communicate like I would want to but I feel like any adult should be able to double-check me and be like, “Hey, is this really what you meant or is this what you meant?” This helps to make sure we are on an equal playing field and that no one’s words are getting misconstrued or misunderstood.