Meet Our Next “Girls On The Rise:” Katiyanna Borawski, 16
Katiyanna Borawski is a girl of many talents. A junior at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, she excels in her studies of environmental science as well as acting. She hopes to attend New York University to pursue acting or science — or, she’ll fulfill her other dream of becoming the first U.S. President trained in Cosmetology!
What is your dream career?
That’s a hard question! No one really knows until the moment comes — that’s how I am right now. I want to do a lot of things! I obviously want to do something in theater, as I’m at a performing arts school, but I’m also super interested in atmospheric science — I’m actually working on projects dealing with climate change currently. I basically want to save the environment.
Wow! What inspired you to get involved in these dreams?
In 8th grade I went to the performing arts school and that was the first time I did theater. I always thought theater was dramatic and boring. When they threw me in a theater class, it totally changed my perspective. I had the experience of watching my classmates become different people and it was so cool. It’s like a superpower to become characters.
When it comes to my interest in science, I really noticed the chain of events that connect political action with the environment. That’s when I started to become more sympathetic to the environment.
What are some of the challenges you have faced while reaching for your dreams?
The biggest problem is being interested in so many things! You don’t have six kids and just pick one favorite kid. That’s exactly how I feel about my interests. Lots of times, people will ask high schoolers like me what we want to do and I’m like, “I want to be a hairstylist, chef, President, actress, and scientist!”
How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?
I’ll be the first person in my family to graduate high school, so that’s a big weight on my shoulders. I’m the first black kid on my mom’s side of the family, and I’m also the first mixed child in my family. I feel an extra pressure to do well. Basically, I want to make my family proud.
Why is college important to you?
My mom didn’t graduate high school. She and my dad both dropped out. My aunt dropped out even though she had a 4.0. When I imagine not making it, I think, “No, I’ve got to make a change.” I want to be something. If I’m not a chef, veterinarian, astronaut, actress, or President, I’ll be something. I keep myself motivated.
How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals?
Not everybody just has $2,000 on hand (unless you’re Beyonce!). Most of my family didn’t graduate high school or college, so no one can really provide me with the funds I need to visit Chicago or New York to look at schools. They don’t have the money to allow me to study abroad or “find my path.” So, it’s really crucial I get funding. My dream is to go to NYU. $2,000 would be just enough to go and see NYU, and I want to be able to say, “I didn’t beg anybody for help. I made my path. I picked up a knife and carved out my own door.”
What schools will you use the funding to visit?
Definitely NYU. I’m also interested in the University of Central Florida and South Carolina State University. I’m drawn to schools that seem like they not only have good resources but also strong communities.
Interview conducted by Bronwyn Isaac, 1,000 Dreams Fund contributor.