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This Week We Feature Young Professional Aliyah Y. Leonard

Young Professional Aliyah Y. Leonard is a 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher at Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS). Photo: Provided
Aliyah Y. Leonard finds much gratification in helping to mould the territory's young minds as a school teacher. Photo: Provided
Aliyah Y. Leonard finds much gratification in helping to mould the territory's young minds as a school teacher. Photo: Provided
Aliyah Y. Leonard graduated from Missouri Southern State University in December 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Minor in Spanish. Here she is flanked by her proud parents Dawn U. Leonard and Linton V. Leonard. Photo: Provided
Aliyah Y. Leonard graduated from Missouri Southern State University in December 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Minor in Spanish. Here she is flanked by her proud parents Dawn U. Leonard and Linton V. Leonard. Photo: Provided
It was American writer Maggie Gallagher who said, “Of all the hard jobs around, one of the hardest is being a good teacher.” That view does not faze our featured young professional this week, Aliyah Y. Leonard, a 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher at the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS).

To understand how our Young Professional got to the point of doing one of earth’s noblest professions, let’s look at her humble beginnings. Miss Leonard, as she is now known to her students, started her formal studies at the BVI Seventh-day Adventist School- Primary Division and continued her secondary schooling in the Secondary Division.

She graduated as valedictorian of the class of 2011. “I owe a lot of my success to the foundation that I received in both schools,” Aliyah said.

After studying Science at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) for a year, Aliyah started Missouri Southern State University in August of 2012 and graduated in December 2015 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology and a Minor in Spanish.

Growing a liking for teaching

In September of 2016 Aliyah accepted the challenge of moulding the nation’s youth by becoming a teacher at ESHS. Though she has only been teaching for three months at ESHS, her teaching experience began when she was asked to be a Teacher’s Assistant while at Missouri Southern State University.

“I was required to teach several lessons for a Biology 101 college class. I was so nervous at first while teaching university students as I was a student myself but I grew a liking for it and thought to myself, “Hey, maybe I could do this. Also, my mother, a former teacher, would always tell me that I should consider teaching and don’t down it until I try it.”

Making a difference

Albert Einstein once said, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Ms Leonard is one who enjoys her job, especially the connections and relationships with her students and as she puts it, “seeing the fruits of my labour.”

“I love when the students’ faces light up when they understand a specific concept and the laughs I get daily. Also, at first I thought that I would just be doing the teaching and they would be learning but shockingly I was doing a lot of learning. I learned a lot about each one of my students, I learned about their likes and dislikes, and their learning styles. I am making a difference and I’m happy that I’m building the little leaders of the future.”

Overcoming challenges

Meanwhile, the challenges that come with teaching are not enough to deter this determined young lady from enjoying and continuing in her profession as when ‘anxiety and nerves’ threaten, Aliyah allows teaching to help her overcome them, along with prayer and practising patience.

When asked, where she sees herself in the profession, she replied, “Ultimately in this profession, I would like to teach senior school, Biology, become someone my students look up to and someone who inspires them. I would love to be a great teacher, grow and improve on all my weaknesses. I am still learning and hopeful that one day, with determination, I will get there.”

Potential Audiologist

Though teaching is fulfilling, Ms Leonard still has other passions and aspires to become an Audiologist. “I did my internship in my senior year of college with an Audiologist at an Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic in St Thomas and ever since I’ve been eager to become an Audiologist to give back to my country, serving them and potentially opening my own practice.”

With the busy life of teaching, our Young Professional still finds time to do some of her favourite things; singing, reading, writing poems and travelling. A part of being a good scientist is having a curious mind and Aliyah also enjoys learning new things.

Spending time with friends and family is also one of her favourite pastimes.

Praise to parents

With the sort of mature, humble and yet ambitious character that Aliyah portraits, it is no wonder that she lists her parents, Dawn U. Leonard and Linton V. Leonard, as her biggest inspiration.

“One person who inspires me is my father, his work ethics and focus to attain any goal really inspires me. He works really hard and I would like to be more like him. Another person that inspires me is my mother; she pushes me to make all my dreams come true. She is my motivation and a person that I’ve always looked up to. She is very strong and selfless. She was a teacher at the BVI High school and I would observe her sometimes and aspire to be just like her when I grow up. I can now say I’m following in her footsteps.”

Advice to youth

Teaching helps our Young Professional to foster in youth the desire to be better persons. She encourages all young persons, “not stay in your comfort zone. It limits your chances of experiencing life to the fullest and seeing your full potential. You can achieve anything, not once you put your mind to it but, if you act on it as well. Act on your ideas, act on your goals. Set out a plan and work towards it. If it’s a new career path, getting a degree, go for it. Don’t be afraid. Put your trust in God and everything will work out.

For those who may be looking a reason to join the teaching profession, Aliyah encourages them to get involved. “It is very rewarding in more ways than one. Every day, I come home with a new story, lesson and a feeling of satisfaction that I’m making a difference. No day is ever the same; it’s a different experience daily. To aspiring teachers, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.”

22 Responses to “This Week We Feature Young Professional Aliyah Y. Leonard”

  • Proud Auntie (02/12/2016, 08:29) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Go Lilly. You an one amazing young lady. I sit it awe at your journey with your zeal and tenacity to succeed. Love and miss you loads.
    • Proud Auntie (02/12/2016, 09:29) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      Go Lilly! You are one amazing young lady. I sit in awe at your journey, with your zeal and tenacity to succeed. Love and miss you loads.
  • VIlander (02/12/2016, 08:59) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    another great pick vino big ups Aliyah
  • Caramel Diva (02/12/2016, 08:59) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Aliyah your story is inspiring and gives hope for the young people. keep up the good work and continue to make your parents proud.
  • family (02/12/2016, 09:09) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Doing great things. Continue to persevere regardless of the obstacles.
  • Jakey (02/12/2016, 09:22) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Proud of u big sis! Keep striving for excellence!
  • Boo (02/12/2016, 09:24) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
  • whistle (02/12/2016, 09:31) Like (22) Dislike (0) Reply
    she's sooo pretty
  • ras (02/12/2016, 09:57) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I know her
  • Onloker (02/12/2016, 10:11) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    I have known Aliyah from the time she was a baby since her parents and I went school together and attend the same church. Aliyah is so humble and always have a pleasant smile. I am so proud of all her accomplishments. Dawn and Linton you have done well in investing in your daughter spiritually and academically. May God continue to help her to soar on the wings of his love. Keep level headed Aliyah and be the best teacher who will make a great impact on our boys and girl. God bless you.
  • Proud Momma (02/12/2016, 10:22) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Look at you! You continue to make me proud. Continue to reach for the stars. You will continue to accomplish your goals in Jesus name. You rock. Love you loads.
  • Joc (02/12/2016, 12:24) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Great pick Vino!
  • Liat 521 (02/12/2016, 13:02) Like (11) Dislike (1) Reply
    what a beautiful smile
  • Little Sister (02/12/2016, 17:08) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    You never cease to amaze me. Proud and honored to have you as a role model. Love u
  • P (02/12/2016, 18:55) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Congrats young lady. very inspiring. Well done Mr &Mrs Leonard
  • Junta (02/12/2016, 19:19) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good read! Aliyah you're seriously an inspiration to me!
  • liahhhhhh (03/12/2016, 08:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    so proud of you
  • Proud (03/12/2016, 17:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So very proud of you Lilly. I have watched you grow from a little baby, and I am so extremely proud of the young woman you have become. Keep being a positive role model for the younger generation and keep being the woman of God that you are. Your parents did an awesome Job raising you In the Lord!
  • Aunty Linda (03/12/2016, 19:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Proud of you Aliyah. Wishing you the best in all your endeavours!
  • anthony (03/12/2016, 20:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    All praise to God. Thank God for christian education and committed parents. Very proud of your acheivement.
  • Just saying (03/12/2016, 20:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This young lady got it going on!
  • "SCIENCE" (03/12/2016, 21:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Congrats Aaliyah!!!!!!!! So proud of you !!! That Smile!!! Your Beauty radiates from within. So Happy that you have joined us in the Science Department! You are doing an AWESOME job!!!!!!

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