How Graduates Like Aliya McKoy Are Driving Change, Transforming Uncertainty Into Possibilities

Ocoee, Florida
Editor-In-Chief: Jamee Beth Livingston
Photography: Mariam Abusaif
Makeup: Kenya Enhancing Beauty
Dress: S&M Custom Design

5 mins read

High school is a transformative journey, a crucible that shapes us into the individuals we are destined to become. It is a time of self-discovery, where we navigate the ebbs and flows of life, forging friendships, pursuing passions and confronting challenges that test our resilience. As Aliya McKoy and other graduates stand on the precipice of graduation, ready to embark on a new chapter, let the memories of high school fuel your ambition. Embrace the wisdom gained and the passions ignited, for they are the foundation upon which you will build your future. Despite the challenges of inflation, wars and the unknown, this graduating generation is arguably the most socially responsible and globally conscious and human-centered thus far. Uncertainty permeates our world, but within that uncertainty lies infinite possibilities that graduates have the power to turn it into a realm of limitless potential.

The values instilled during Aliya’s upbringing, such as integrity, perseverance and compassion, have served as a solid foundation for her personal growth and success in all aspects of life. Aliya’s parents have been a pillar of support and guidance. Her mother, renowned Haitian fashion designer Santia Mckoy and father Adrian McKoy, have continuously believed in their daughter’s potential. With her nurturing embrace, Santia has instilled in Aliya the courage to fearlessly embrace new challenges and the determination to leave an indelible mark on the world around her. Aliya’s bright future is a testament to their shared journey and the transformative power of a mother’s love and faith, inspiring us all to pursue our dreams with relentless passion and make a lasting, positive impact on the lives we touch. “As we celebrate this momentous occasion, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride, gratitude and hope. I look forward to witnessing the remarkable achievements that lay ahead.”

Aliya, Santia & Adrian McKoy for Livingston Magazine.

Aliya’s sophomore year feels like it was just yesterday. It was the year she was granted the opportunity to attend school again. She attended private school her entire life, and during her freshman year, she did school online due to COVID-19, so she had no idea what to expect. “I was able to walk the halls and sit in a classroom again. I thoroughly enjoyed the vibrant school spirit, thrilling football games, engaging school events and the numerous clubs I was involved in. My freshman year I was definitely upset I didn’t get the opportunity to attend school. I felt like I was robbed of an experience that I was so excited for but I learned high school is truly a roller coaster. There’s bad days, there’s good days, and there’s days I wish it would be over. I wished for it to be over so many times, and now that I’m nearing the end some part of me wishes I had more time. I never really took it in when everyone said it will go by so fast!”

High school is a journey filled with invaluable experiences. It’s a remarkable phase where you can live, learn, grow and mature. The resilience to never give up amidst challenges is truly commendable. “As graduation approaches, a profound sense of pride and accomplishment washes over us, celebrating the milestones achieved and the person we’ve become.” This transformative chapter has undoubtedly shaped graduates in profound ways, leaving an indelible mark on their lives. Aliya feels a sense of accomplishment as she nears the finish line. “This experience allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of myself and discover my interests. I love to talk and get to know people, make others around me smile, laugh and feel cared about. I am truly grateful for all the meaningful experiences and cherished memories I made.”

Aliya McKoy for Livingston Magazine.

Senior year is a significant milestone that leaves an indelible mark on one’s life. For those embarking on this journey, Aliya believes it is crucial to approach academics with utmost dedication and avoid the pitfalls of procrastination and distractions. While no advice can fully equip you for the next four years, Aliya does have some valuable guidance to offer. “If I could offer any advice to incoming students, it would be to take your grades seriously and don’t let procrastination or distractions derail you from your goals.” Junior year is a crucial time for students. While it may be challenging, it’s an opportunity to focus on important goals like preparing for college, prep for the SATs, and improve your grades and GPA performance. Although it can be overwhelming and stressful, with the right mindset and strategies, junior year can be a productive and meaningful experience. Maintaining focus and prioritizing grades can pave the way for future success.

Her senior quote was, “Let It All Work Out,” by Lil Wayne that encapsulates the essence of embracing life’s uncertainties with faith and resilience. “I’ve learned to trust in the journey and let go of things beyond my control.” While the end of this chapter may evoke a sense of nostalgia, it also opens doors to new possibilities and opportunities for personal growth. By surrendering to the divine plan and maintaining a positive outlook, the future holds the promise of fulfillment and achievement. With a desire to embrace her Haitian heritage, she seeks to let her hometown’s influence guide her. “I would encourage this new generation of graduates to appreciate their world by seeing it through the perspective of their own hometown and community, noticing the small details and familiar sounds that make it special.”

Aliya McKoy for Livingston Magazine.

After high school, Aliya plans to attend college in Florida and pursue a career in communications where she hopes to ignite change and inspire others. These are not mere dreams, but beacons guiding her towards her true calling. Her goal is to have her own platform one day, and to become the role model that she always wanted growing up. Additionally, she aims to have the opportunity to interview well-known figures and influential people. “These are not merely dreams but a vision for my future. With hard work, dedication, and continued faith in God, I am determined to achieve every single one of these goals.”

While no words can truly capture the essence of these transformative four years, it is a path best embraced with an open heart and gratitude towards the incredible individuals who played pivotal roles in the journey to graduation. My guidance counselor Ms. Diaz , Dr. Henry, Mrs. Hendricks and Mrs. Wolfgramm, deserve heartfelt appreciation for their mentorship and support. She is equally indebted to Ms. Robertson and Ms. Turner, whose boundless encouragement throughout her years at Ocoee High School have left an indelible mark on her life. “These amazing people have not only imparted invaluable knowledge but have also inspired me to reach for greatness with their belief in my potential.”

Aliya McKoy for Livingston Magazine.

High school is a journey filled with twists, turns and unexpected moments that shape us into the individuals we are meant to become. So, let the bittersweet emotions of leaving high school behind be a catalyst for your journey. “As I prepare to say goodbye to high school, I am both sad and excited for what lies ahead. But one thing is for sure – I couldn’t be who I am today without these four years. So thank you, high school, for all the lessons, memories and moments that have shaped me into the person I am today.” Aliya will carry the lessons learned, the memories cherished and the friendships forged, for they are the fuel that will propel her towards her destiny. With the diploma in hand, a world of possibilities now lay before young graduates. Embrace the future with open arms, for it is yours to shape, yours to conquer, and yours to leave an indelible mark upon the world. Congratulations to this year’s class!

Livingston Magazine is an international, independently published magazine exploring society through the eyes o people from around the world. Through diverse voices, we feature inspirational people and their stories. "We connect with an audience interested in more than just the trend, but the deeper meaning of life." - JB Livingston, Founder/Editor-In-Chief.
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