Local Spotlight: Tye’aja Friend

Tye’aja Friend graduated from George Wythe High School in 2017. During her high school career, Tye’aja completed the Partnership for the Future Program and served as an intern with United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg for three consecutive summers. She’s currently finishing her freshman year at Norfolk State University, where she is planning to major in Biology.

By: Tye’aja Friend

When you look back on your high school experience, what are some of your proudest moments?

When I look back on my high school experiences, some of my proudest moments were being part of different groups and programs, such as Partnership for the Future, College Map and the dance team, all of which allowed me to take on leadership roles and help others. My second proudest moment was being in the top ten of my class and graduating with an advanced diploma.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in high school? How did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in high school was balancing my time. I overcame this by scheduling my days and planning ahead. My second biggest challenge came during my senior year. It was maintaining the motivation to go to school every day. I overcame this by reminding myself every day that if I want to become a doctor, which is my career goal, that I have to keep pushing myself. There are going to be more times where I lose motivation but I can’t let that stop me because I have a purpose.

Was there ever a time when you considered dropping out? If so, what changed your mind?

Yes, there were times I considered dropping out because of the overload of things that I had to do. What changed my mind was the thought of making my Mom and my Grandma happy. A high school diploma was something we all wanted and we couldn’t wait to see what life after high school was going to be like for me. If I had dropped out, I wouldn’t be accomplishing the things that I am now.

What advice would you have for a high school student who is facing challenges on the path to graduation?

The advice I would give to someone in high school facing challenges is that this difficult stage will not last forever. Success does not come easy, and whether you accept the challenges on the road to success is up to you. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – you can’t see what you are capable of until you do so. And always remember that if you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Who were some of the most influential adults during your high school career?

One of the most influential adults during my high school career was my guidance counselor, Mr. Brower. He helped me find the college that best fit me, helped me fill out scholarship applications and listened to me complain about the stress of school. The second most influential adult during high school was my Grandma. She was always there for me, helped me accomplish a lot during high school and made sure I stayed on top of deadlines.

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