Talented Honor Student to Publish First Book

Spotlight on D.C. Students

by: Jasmine A. Ball Special to the AFRO
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She’s 13.

An eighth grade student who attends KIPP D.C. Northwest Academy, a D.C. charter school, has used several programs in the school system to help better herself in her educational endeavors.

Maya Pinson is a D.C. eighth grader on the move, who excels at academics and extra curricular activities. (Courtesy photo)

Maya Pinson, 13, is involved in two academic and leadership programs in Washington, D.C. The Program for Academic and Leadership Skills is an all-girls organization that has been in the school system since 1997. Worldstrides takes students on educational trips around the world and  has been in existence since 1967 when it was known as Lakeland Tours.

“Maya has been an exceptional participant in the Program for Academic and Leadership Skills over the past several years,” Janaiha Bennett, a PAL director, told the AFRO. Bennett has been with PALS for eleven years.

According to the PALS website, the program provides a community where girls are encouraged  to flourish in character and leadership potential.

“I wanted to join PALS because I wanted to exemplify leadership everywhere I go. By joining the program it will sharpen my leadership skills,” Maya told the AFRO. “PALS has taught me to not be a follower and how to set and show a good example.”

This will also be Maya’s second year in the Worldstrides program. Some of her past experiences include going to Florida to learn about marine biology. In 2018, she is scheduled to go to Costa Rica to explore and learn about the country.

According to the Worldstrides website, the program has been leading in educational travel for the past 50 years; taking students of all ages around the globe and into some of the most important learning adventures of their lives. They have taken more than 7 million students on educational trip. Last year, they took more than 400, 00 students to several locales around the world. Worldstrides is funded by donations and fundraisers.

Along with participating in programs to further her education beyond the classroom, Maya is also involved with extracurricular activities such as basketball; she’s been playing since the age of four.

Maya said she wants to become a WNBA player when she gets older. She averages 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists per game. Maya also plays lacrosse, participates in the drama club, plays the cello as a first chair, plays the drums, and maintains a 4.0 GPA. Maya is currently the captain of her volleyball team at KIPP. She will also be inducted into the National Junior Honors Society in November. .

“My daughter is always going above and beyond in everything that she is involved in,” her mother Mignon Pinson told the AFRO. “She is very considerate, loyal, supportive to her peers and very focused.”

Maya has launched her website mjaip.com, which promotes her new book and keeps readers up to date on her upcoming events..

Maya’s first book is “Back Pack Lilly,” which is about educational journey with a dog who instills good study habits through the method of ‘stop, drop, work then play’ right where you are.” Publication is set for later this year.

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