My Pops is the most well-rounded, amazingly understanding, best dancer Kenosha, Wisconsin has ever witnessed. No, he is not always the kindest. He is a parent and 100% will and always will be. Very strict. Very well put-together, with his beautiful wife right by his side. Even when he seems grumpy and edgy, Pops is always there for his children and grandchildren regardless of what they have said and what they have done to each other.

The most keen and heartfelt moment I can remember: I was about to enter my first year of high school. “14 year old Niaya, growing up so fast. You know it don’t mean s**t, right? Friends, I mean. One thing you’ve got to remember, people come and go. People will slap you around, people will hurt you, people will support you; the people you call friends. I guarantee you the people who you think are your friends right at this moment, you won’t think about when you have that cap and gown. Thing only thing you need to remember is Focus on achieving as much as you can, these high schoolers will just distract you. Friends come and go, Niaya. Do Not be surprised and do not cry, if they, some day, are gone. Don’t be foolin’ around, Niaya. Enjoy high school, but don’t forget what I told you.”

Those wise words have stuck with me all the way up until now, my third year in high school. And he was right.


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