“I began to hear about this bright and brassy girl who was taking our school by storm…and in comes Kiana Estime, without a fear in the world.” - Matthew Wohl, social studies teacher, Monument Mountain Regional High School
Kiana Estime knows how to raise her voice. Just 19 years old, she has already established herself as a leader and advocate for social justice, racial equality and youth empowerment.
In high school, Kiana spent practically every available moment volunteering. She interned at Railroad Street Youth Project, an organization that promotes youth leadership, responsibility and self-worth. She spent a semester teaching English to preschool and middle school students in Ecuador as part of the Rotary International Student Exchange Program. She established cultural awareness and diversity groups at schools and businesses as part of her work
with nonprofit Multicultural BRIDGE.
Kiana currently attends Holyoke Community College with support from Berkshire Taconic’s Nicholas Boraski Family Scholarship Fund. “I need to support those around me who whisper their ideas about change, but doubt their ability to make a difference,” Kiana wrote in her scholarship application. “I am going to represent the communities that many political figures ignore. I am going to empower our youth.”
With the opportunity to attend college, Kiana is one step closer to her dream of providing educational opportunities for underprivileged youth and minorities. She intends to graduate with a major in either political science or anthropology and a minor in social work.
Until then, Kiana has taken on several leadership roles at school. She is a member of the commITTED club, a community service group, and the Latino/Latina and Allies group, which promotes cultural awareness on campus. She volunteers with various organizations in Holyoke that connect immigrants to jobs and literacy courses, and she plans to spend this summer in Honduras building water filtration systems in areas without access to clean water.
Teachers describe Kiana as “unwilling to settle” and “a model community member.” Kiana, however, attributes her success to the education she has been fortunate enough to receive.
“The Nicholas Boraski Scholarship has allowed me to pursue my academic goals and my dreams,” she says. Now, she can continue to use her voice to promote educational and racial equality.