“I won’t like to work in a fast food,” Niya Harry says. That much is clear to the 17-year old student at Green Dot high school in the Bronx.
After her parents divorced, Harry was raised by her single mother – and experience that taught her “love does not last forever”, she says. She now says that her main goal is to help her mother.
A rising senior, Harry aspires to be successful and make a positive impact in the world and is looking forward to a good senior year. She also hopes to become a role model for her young siblings, to make her mother proud and to build a good future for herself.
Harry said she has loved writing since she was a young, especially short story. Recently, she joined the Lehman College Now program so she could explore journalism and improve her writing skills.
The transition from middle school to high school was hard for Harry. “ I was crying, didn’t know if I could make it,” she said.
But she is doing pretty well, saying she is “not a 90 student, but I have 80s.” Harry added that she does struggle in some subjects like math, chemistry, and Spanish. ”It’s too hard,” she said about the latter.
Looking to the upcoming school year, Harry says she wants to put even more effort into her academics and get involved in more school activities. She wants to return to her journalism class, work on the school newspaper, do more community service and maybe join a sport team.
“Colleges look at your senior year,” Harry said, as an explanation. “It’s important to do a lot.”
Going to college is essential to her plans to serve as a role model for her brothers and sisters. She said her siblings have many dreams, but they need to work hard to accomplish them. “They have to try their best,” Harry said.
Aside from doing a lot for school and her family, Harry enjoys her free time reading and listening to music – she loves Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande. She is also a “huge fan of wrestling”, she said, and and favorite wrestlers are John Cena, Kelly Kelly, and Marys.
Harry likes romantic movies, comedies and action films, but she is not a fan of scary movies. She said they give her “nightmares”.
Naicha Diaby, Harry’s friend, said Harry is a nice person to be around, is responsible for her work, and likes to joke with friends. Diaby knows Harry for 3 years they attend the same school. “Normal girl with her friends, but shy with other people.” Diaby described her friend.
For her part, Harry describes herself as “shy, skeptical and naïve.”
As an example of her shyness she tells of an episode from her childhood. When she was twelve, she recalls, she went with her mother to a cell phone store. When her mother left her alone, the shop owner asked her to tell any customers that he was away, praying. Harry, who is often uncomfortable around strangers, said she felt “awkward” and “weird”.
Despite being shy, she knows what she wants in a friendship. According to her, she is a nice person when you meet her at first, but if you do something wrong “that is it” she said. “ I don’t believe in second chances,” Harry said.
Rica Roberts, also a member of College Now, attends the same high school as Harry and said Harry is a “nice” friend, and she is “always there when you need her.” She has confidence in her. “She will make it far in life,” Roberts said.
Determined not to work at a fast food, Harry hopes her education will land her somewhere else. “They get crazy at McDonalds,” she explained, adding that she would prefer working elsewhere, “maybe at clothing store.”
But for now she is focused on her studies and her mother’s high expectations for her, even though she mentioned recently having an argument with her.
“But then she told me I love you, so it felt good,” Harry said.
Still, her mother is pushing her.
“My mom wants me to go to Harvard but that’s not happening” Harry said. Her dream colleges are Stony Brook and Columbia.