January Senior of the Month – Keyanna Nurse
Keyanna Nurse is a powerhouse. As if instinctually, she sets the bar high as she excels at everything that she sets her heart to. The Robeson High School senior knows that she is on the road to greatness yet is a humble, down-to-earth, phenomenal young lady.
Her day usually begins at 8:30 am as she enters the main office at Robeson to greet Principal Gordan (one of her greatest supporters at Robeson) and the staff. After which, she begins her full day of classes. After school Keyanna is still very busy as she works a part-time job and on Wednesdays, she participates in a nurse training program. She also volunteers at UPenn on Thursdays in the emergency room. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s involved in the “We the People Program”, where she teaches students about the process of voting. Keyanna is also Robeson’s National Honor Society (NHS) president. “Keyanna is a proactive and responsible person. As the National Honor Society president, she has taken on a great responsibility. Keyanna facilitates chapter meetings, planned our annual toy drive, budgeted for and purchased materials for the toy drive, such as tape, wrapping paper, extra toys, a Christmas tree for our “Tree of Warmth” donation in which NHS students collected hats, scarves, gloves, and socks to donate to people in need. Furthermore, she co-planned our Spirit Week which culminated in a talent show,” said her nominator, Ms. Tiaw.
Although she has a full plate, Keyanna’s current English class is a dual enrollment class that she takes at Robeson through Harrisburg University. “Earlier this year, students wrote an assertion essay on gender stereotypes. The class assignment required students to analyze an author’s position and to support the author’s position with text that we read in class; students also had to provide a counter-argument. Keyanna did all of those things, but she also conducted independent research and found secondary resources to support her understanding of the author and the topic. Keyanna’s papers are always well-written, organized, and thoroughly researched,” said Tiaw.
Keyanna is a well-rounded student and is an active member of the Robeson community and throughout the city of Philadelphia. Last year she led the protests to get air conditioning at Robeson. “The issue of us not having air conditioning was a hot topic. My NHS member and I decided to protest. We made posters. There were city council members there. We wrote speeches. We made a lot of noise.” Read the news article here.
Keyanna’s impact on Robeson over the past 4 years has impressed Robeson Principal Richard Gordon. “Keyanna has a great sense of responsibility. It is the greatest thing about her. She’s always looking to learn, always looking to experience new things. She’s very self-aware as to her interest and what she’ll be successful in…and you can’t offer her any program experience that is sub-par. That’s just not in her DNA – she wants to be challenged. If it’s not challenging her, she is not going to want to be involved in it. We’re not asking them to be perfect or the top students. We’re asking them to be the best version of themselves. I think Keyanna is always seeking to be the best version of herself,” said Principal Gordon.
Keyanna is on the fast track to becoming an OB-GYN as she hopes to be enrolled in medical school in 5 years. Her heart is to be a place of comfort and support for expecting single women. “We hear a lot about women being single moms. I just want to have that connection with them to let them know that they are ok. I want to them know that their baby is in safe hands.” During her time in medical school, her plan is to flip houses and host several Airbnbs to pay for her tuition.
Keyanna’s advice to other students across the district: “It’s ok to fail but don’t stay in the spot where you failed. You have to move on. You can’t stay in that spot forever. Also, when you grow, you’re going to be uncomfortable. You want to challenge yourself every day. Once you give up…you’ve lost everything. But once you show people that you had a moment and you’re coming back from it – it shows people that what they thought or said about you was wrong.”
As one of the top 3 in her class, Keyanna has been accepted to Nova Southern University, Commonwealth University (Bloomsburg and Mansfield), Virginia Commonwealth University, Morgan State, and Moravian University. She’s been invited to Nova Southern University in Florida to interview for their full scholarship program. She’s scheduled to fly to Florida in the coming weeks.
Just as much as Keyanna has been a gift to Robeson, her school has been even more to her. She loves her school so much that she came up with a slogan for it – “Come to Robeson, it’s worth your 4 years.” Keyanna, we know that the 4 years that you’ve spent at Robeson were worth it.
We’re excited about your future and look forward to witnessing all the ways that you will impact this generation. Congratulations, Keyanna!
We asked Keyanna our favorite list of questions:
1. What does being named Senior of the Month mean to you?
Being named senior of the month means to me that my hard work is really starting to pay off. It shows that I’m headed in the right direction.
2. Why do you think you were nominated for Senior of the Month?
I think I’ve been nominated for senior of the month because of how bright, smart, and helpful I am. I show every day that I’m willing to give my all in school. And because there’s no other Keyanna Nurse in this city. I’m outgoing, determined, and I have a warm heart.
3. You were nominated by Mouy Tiaw. Explain your relationship with her. Why do you think she nominated you specifically?
I was nominated by Ms. Tiaw. My relationship with Ms. Tiaw is great. We have a strong bond. I can go to Ms. Tiaw and talk about my problems. She can be hard on me sometimes because she knows what I’m capable of. She most likely nominated me because of my leadership skills and my bright attitude.
4. What is one thing you’d like to share about yourself that most people don’t know about you?
One thing most people don’t know about me is I too have bad days. I’m still growing and learning new things every day. People wonder why I’m so smart but in reality, I never give up nor do I settle for less.
5. What do you enjoy most when you are not at school?
What I enjoy most when I’m not in school having quality time by myself. Since I go to work and school I tend to be a bit tired. Another thing I love to do is spend time outside with my loved ones and friends. I also like to crotchet. Do you want a shirt? I’ll make you a shirt…blankets, scrunchies, I can make anything.
6. In your opinion, what is the best thing about attending school at Paul Robeson High School?
The best thing about attending Paul Robeson is the great opportunities you would never think that you would get. For instance, I never thought Robeson would have any medical-related programs. When I came to Robeson, I thought it was a regular school, but a couple of months later I found myself in a Penn Medical Program. If I went to another school, I wouldn’t have the same opportunities. I’m literally going to college. I also wouldn’t be the senior of the month.
7. In your opinion, what is one thing that the School District could do to improve our service to students?
Give money to schools that really need it…like Paul Robeson. Our test scores are off the charts, even after Covid. During covid, we didn’t fall. We are not a regular school. We didn’t let Covid stop us from succeeding. We deserve the money to get our school fixed up for the students who are working their butts off. We shouldn’t have to work in poor conditions after we’ve worked our butts off. We deserve something in return.