#CenteringStudentVoices - The Spaces Where I Feel I Can Be My Authentic Self
We are excited to spotlight KIPP Legacy High School Junior, Shariah Miller, as she returns to #CenteringStudentVoices to discuss the emotional and environmental aspects of school, and where she feels she can be her authentic self.
January 25, 2022
At the end of 2021, we re-launched our #CenteringStudentVoices series. As we step into the new year, we want to continue to share student voices with you. TFA Indy’s #CenteringStudentVoices series seeks to elevate student voice and leadership on the issues that impact students directly.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
KIPP Legacy High School
What caused you to come back to #CenteringStudentVoices to share your perspective?
The last time I did this, it was in February of 2021. We had a Facebook Live conversation about the pandemic, and how it was affecting students. We also touched on the racial injustices that we were witnessing at the time. I loved having that conversation, and seeing adults being willing to hear the perspectives of other students that were from my community. I loved being able to participate in an experience where I was heard and understood.
Thinking of the Seven Dimensions of Wellness— physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, and occupational— we would like to focus on the emotional and environmental aspects of school. The first question, we would like to ask is, “When do you get to be your real self at school, and tell us what that feels like?
I would say that it would be around my favorite teachers and my counselor. As long as I have been at the school, and this being my junior year, I’ve grown to know some of them very well. I feel like I am in a comfortable space where I be myself and show my authenticity.
What has the pandemic taught you about yourself?
My mentality and the way that I think has changed. I really have come to want to advocate for not only Black voices, but the voices of people of color. There has been so much struggle in our communities, and I just want to be that person that advocates and speaks up for what is right.
Now let’s transition into environmental aspects. When you enter school every day, how do you feel?
I feel excited. Not just to experience learning, but outside of that, seeing my friends helps me to continue wanting to go to school. These are friends I really trust, and I look forward to seeing the teachers I like too. Outside of the overall learning experience, socially, my school is like a “pick me up.”
Are there any classrooms or special spaces in school that make you feel good? If so, what are those spaces?
My favorite teachers are my advisor and my algebra teacher. Both of those classrooms make me feel happy. The vibe is good, and everyone is inclusive. I enjoy that a lot, especially in the morning, when it can be dreary, that space still makes me feel good. My algebra teacher also cracks joke with the class too, and it’s a very fun experience for both times in the day.