Alumni Spotlight: Kayla K.

Kayla is an alumna from DC Metro’s Ward 6  Achievement Center. She now promotes international trade and economic development in developing nations. She’s also passionate about community service and economic equity. She credits Higher Achievement with empowering her incredible journey. Find out how Higher Achievement helped her find her voice and become a leader.

How did you first become involved in Higher Achievement? 

Kayla: My middle school principal advertised the program at the time. I knew about Higher Achievement before, but I was playing sports. My mom thought it was a good idea for me to go to Higher Achievement to get into a really great high school.

Why did you want to become involved in Higher Achievement? 

Kayla: At the time I was doing a lot of stuff so I was a little reluctant to join, but my mom convinced me. I did research and found out how the program worked. I thought that this would be a great program for me because I wanted to go to the best high school possible. I’m grateful to Higher Achievement for helping me get into my high school, the Holton-Arms School.

How did Higher Achievement make a difference in your life?

Kayla: It made a big difference. During the summer of my eighth grade year, Higher Achievement took a trip to Holton-Arms. Once there, I fell in love, and if it wasn’t for Higher Achievement, I wouldn’t have seen myself as a student there.

Who was your favorite mentor or staff member? 

Kayla: My favorite mentor was Marcus Grey, he was an amazing mentor. He was very nice, positive, and helpful. He advocated on my behalf to get me into Holton-Arms. I really wanted to go and I could tell he believed in me. My mother loved his dedication.

How do you feel Higher Achievement helped create the person you are today? 

Kayla: Higher Achievement helped me find my voice and become a better leader. When I was younger, I was more reserved, but I feel like being in an environment where everyone wanted to achieve academically encouraged me to better myself.

Being in Higher Achievement helped me to be more confident and to be a stronger person.

In what ways do you contribute to your community? 

Kayla: I was a girl scout, and we did a lot of community service. I earned the Girl Scout Gold Award, which is the equivalent of achieving Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts. I helped improve literacy programs for adults in southeast D.C. In Atlanta, I was a Jumpstart AmeriCorps member. I taught children reading comprehension, literacy skills.

What are you up to these days?

Kayla: I’m looking to go to graduate school. I’m an intern with the International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. I help small Georgia agricultural companies with their exporting. We also do a lot of trade missions and outbound trade missions. We’re doing one in Dubai and South Africa. Every day is exciting.

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