damien carter

If athletes get athlete’s foot, do astronauts get mistletoe?

June 8, 2019

One of my favorite things about photography is how it allows me to connect with people. Since I am a “people person” it aligns with who I am and what makes me tick.

Which brings me to this story. I read about Sienna Williams in our local paper and was immediately impressed by her accomplishments. There have been several stories about high school seniors being accepted into all the Ivy league schools but I had never personally met one. Back when she was in middle school, Sienna also read about someone getting into all the Ivy League schools and she decided she could do that too.

Well I decided right then that I would find her. Her being local and the #blackgirlmagic element made this a story I wanted to share. So with the help of Google and social media searching I did just that. I connected with her mom, Daphne and we found 30 minutes in this very busy young lady’s schedule.

Sienna said she didn’t feel very different yet as graduation was just 2 days before our session.  But that doesn’t surprise me as this girl takes it all in stride.

She told me the key to her success has been to stay extremely active. That simple advice is even more poignant in today’s time with all the distractions that young people face.

And ACTIVE she is, besides her obvious focus on academics at Clarksburg High in Maryland, she also is a star athlete, a big sis to 3 siblings and a role model to many other kids.

So with all the acceptances and multiple scholarship offers (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, UPenn, Brown and Cornell) where did Sienna decide to go?

You can see from the pics what school she chose. The reason was that they offered her major of aerospace engineering (and are #1 in it) but she said there were other factors that tipped the scales toward MIT.

On the day of the session we had to work quickly as she had to get to work – yes she has a job too. She recently was promoted to manager at her local Papa Johns.

Oh yeah and back to that major, Sienna plans on becoming an astronaut and being the first person to go to Mars. Yep- a serious STEM major on top of it all.

Here are just a few selected highlights of Sienna’s achievements that I mentioned:

4.8 weighted GPA (which included 17 AP classes), 1500 on SAT, perfect 800 on the SAT subject test for math and 760 for Chemistry. National Honor Society, Science Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society.

Travel-select soccer team (7-11th grades), School Soccer, basketball and softball since seventh grade. Oh and she served as captain of all 3 varsity teams in her senior year.

NASA internship (intended for college students) two summers in a row.

One of mom’s quotes from the original article was that: “Sienna has put in years of hard work to challenge the stereotypes about what black girls with afros, tattoos and piercings can accomplish”.

Well to that I would say, job well done!

If I were a betting man, I would put it all on Sienna to reach her goals. Cheers and best wishes to this humble, driven and inspiring young woman.

Oh and the title of the post- that’s a silly joke we laughed about during the session. It’s always good to loosen a client up with some laughter.

Special shout out to Sienna’s mom who allowed me to do the session and who has done an amazing job with all of her kids.

Original article in: Olney Community News- April 2019