By Alex Nandalall
Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School
As a 12-year-old Haitain immigrant, Ni’yah Marie Preacely used writing to help cope with the bullying that she faced in middle school due to her appearance.
“They would call me overweight and not pretty enough,” said the 16-year-old junior at Newfield High School in Selden. Ni’yah said, “While I like to be seen as strong, I can admit I was hurt and writing gave me an outlet to be honest with myself and to write out my emotions.”
Ni’yah enjoys writing for herself as opposed to school publications. “Composing my feelings allowed me to be free and turn my pain into distant memories as I turned the page to a new chapter – helping me rid myself from a dark place. Discovering my enthusiasm for writing provided clarity in a time of chaos,” she said.
Not only did writing help her escape a dark place, but it also pointed her towards a possible career. “Discovering the pain and injustice within my community provided ambition to pursue a career in journalism,” Ni’yah said.
While her writing has been private, she plans to soon share it with the public as she expands into journalism. This comes with a mission: “to reduce widespread ignorance and display the hidden truths that society yearns to conceal,” Ni’yah said.
Ni’yah, who hopes to study journalism at the University of Albany, envisions another benefit from her career choice. “Journalism allows me to examine different cultures and viewpoints while being objective through understanding as opposed to judgment,” she said.
Ni’yah’s mother, Marjorie, a single parent, describes her daughter as being “passionate about social change.” Ni’yah has always held a desire to examine issues that target the racial injustices that have been brought to light in recent months. Always questioning the prevailing racial discrimination, Niy’ah seeks to “use her talents of writing to dismantle prejudice.” Her mother adds that “sociable Ni’yah has always been a natural storyteller.”
Ni’yah hopes to become a storyteller and follow in the footsteps of her idol Robin Roberts. She said, “I find it inspiring to see another woman of color be successful in the career I would love to do. I would like to follow in the broadcaster’s footsteps to become a memorable speaker that commands the audience through confidence and control.”
Ni’yah’s interest in public service goes beyond journalism. She leads Bible study classes at the Axis Medford Church with her brother Mikeal Negron. At school she is involved within student government and plays on the field hockey team.
Before returning to school in the fall, she is looking forward to learning more about her future career at the Robert W. Greene Summer Institute for High School Journalists at Stony Brook University. ”I’m excited to complete this program and learn from professionals,” she said.
“I think this program can teach me about communication and the process of how information is spread. Being on top of that allows me to control the narrative and hopefully influence how we act when we are exposed to criminality,” said Ni’yah.