Seventeen-year-old Sienna Joseph believes in the power of education. The Grady High School senior and St. Lucia native migrated to the United States as a young child and faced some tremendous obstacles.
Confronted with issues of homelessness and transience shortly after her family moved from New York to Atlanta, Sienna not only grew up with an abusive stepfather, but she struggled academically and was bullied in elementary school. For years, her family moved across town and tackled immigration issues.
However, life changed for the better by the time she entered Inman Middle School. Immigration issues were resolved and Sienna and her family soon settled into a more stable home life.
“We had a roof over our heads, there was food, and my mom and stepfather’s divorce was settled,” she noted. “I was better off academically, and in ninth grade, I decided what I wanted to do with my life. I was determined not to allow what my family experienced to be for nothing. My mother did not come to this country for abuse, homelessness and immigration to deter me from rising to where I should be in school.”
On May 23, Sienna will proudly graduate in the top 17 percent of her class
with a 4.0 GPA. With her sights set on becoming an attorney and law professor, Sienna was accepted to nine of the 10 schools to which she applied. Those schools included Howard University, Spelman College, the University of Georgia, Agnes Scott, George Mason University, Georgia State, and Mercer University, to name a few.
This fall, she plans to attend the University of Georgia, where will study criminal justice.
“I ran into my mom’s room when I got my first acceptance letter,” she said. “We hugged and cried. It was amazing. At first, I was scared I wouldn’t even get into a college. It was hard deciding which one to attend.”
Sienna is quick to tell anyone that she found her purpose at Grady. Determined to take advantage of every opportunity available to her, Sienna has taken honors and AP courses, joined Grady’s Moot Court and Ultimate Frisbee team and other clubs. She also has volunteered and tutored extensively at her alma mater, Hope-Hill Elementary School, where she’s logged over 1,000 community service hours.
“I’m closer to making my dream come true and making my mom even more proud than she is now,” Sienna said. “I’m extremely proud that I could go from where I was to where I am now.”
|College/University||The University of Georgia|
|Intended Major||Criminal Justice|
|Career Goal||Attorney and Law Professor|
|Awards/Recognition||Moot Court Law Club; Spirit captain of the Grady Girls Ultimate Frisbee team; Grady Thespians; Grady Chorus; Volunteer at Hope-Hill Elementary School, logging in 1,0002 community service hours.|