From 2014 Nagler Scholarship Recipient Ashley Hiatt:
I would like to start out by thanking Niclas for this incredible opportunity. I probably wouldn’t have been able to be here without the love and support of my amazing friends, the helpful staff at Discovery, my too cool for school family, and of course all of my loved ones and supporters at the Academy and Urban Arts Partnership. All of you are close to my heart and I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without you all.
I will soon be attending SUNY Oswego in the fall, which for me it means a new step in the right direction. I just I hope I keep going, till I break out in a run. With all of the new facilities opening up at Oswego I’m sure I’ll be more than enthralled with all the cool new toys I get to play with. I plan on studying biology and journalism. My dream is to become a marine biologist because because saving the world (well a portion, of the marine variety) is where my heart is.
Now in the words of my left hand lady, Karina Sanchez, I would like to thank The Academy. When I first came to The Academy, I was a poetry student and since that day, I have been involved in a bit of everything. I was a key member of the Leadership Group, the Girls Group and Media Lab. I came into The Academy a small, and still small person, but with everyone pushing me and wanting me to succeed I have grown into a confident young woman. I learned about the importance of true expression in every element of life.
The Academy helped open my eyes to the political and social issues surrounding me, in the Leadership Group we created the “more than a quota” campaign which showed me that no matter who you are up against, you don’t have to stand for injustice. We were also vital in sharing the youth perspective around the policing policy “stop and frisk”.
In the poetry program I realized no matter who you are and how insignificant you may feel there is always someone who wants to hear you share your ideas. I have been on the receiving end of that kindness, and it was liberating to know that no matter how many times I fall, there are people willing to help me up. Now I try and live my life fearlessly.
In the media lab class I learned valuable skills for editing and properly telling a story from inception to fruition. This is what I would call a positive challenge, meeting deadlines, only meeting in class once a week, having to dedicate extra time, and making sure everything makes sense. It was the most intense brain puzzle in a way.
I am excited to build on the foundation that Urban Arts Partnership gave me and become an even more active, mindful, and contributing citizen of the world.