Student stars: Essence of MLK Elementary School


The world of education is filled with hard workers — hard-working teachers, hard-working administrators and, of course, hard-working students. In recognition of the great students and schools in our neighborhoods, The Northside Chronicle is profiling just a few of them in this weekly blog feature.

Chronicle intern Tracy Patinksi sat down with students from many Northside schools to talk about their dreams and goals. These students work hard day in and day out to make their families and teachers proud, and each one was nominated for these profiles by their teachers and principals for their accomplishments in academics, sports, arts and more.

Photo by Tracy Patinski
Photo by Tracy Patinski

Essence, a 10-year-old fifth grader at Martin Luther King Elementary School, already has big ambitions for her future. Someday, she hopes to break into the competitive world of fashion design and modeling.

The ultimate dream is her own company, and she even has a name in mind: “Essence Design.”

“I like to draw clothes, I like to think about clothes,” she said. “It seems like a lot of fun.”

And with her bubbly personality and conviction, she has the drive to make it happen. According to Essence, the first step is getting out of Pittsburgh and attending college in New York, because of its reputation for great fashion and education. Later in her career, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in fashion design.

“Pittsburgh is too small sometimes,” she said. “It’s the same thing everyday. I want to travel the world.”

Italy and Spain are top on her list, although she is open to heading just about anywhere. Down the road, Essence also plans on adopting a family, making a home for kids of different cultures.

Essence also enjoys choir, voice lessons, modern dance and zumba, a Latin dance workout, which all allow her to practice creativity and expression. Although she doesn’t really view these as careers, she wants to continue dancing and singing on the side for the rest of her life.

When she’s not practicing the arts, Essence is working hard to be successful at King Elementary. So far she feels that her school year is going well, with reading as her favorite class. For the most part, she enjoys reading non-fiction books, and her current favorite is Judy Moody, a book about a sassy girl who wants to become a star.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, math provides a challenge, but one that Essence works hard at. She often has up to an hour of homework every night, but she likes her teachers.

So far, the highlight of her year has been the great field trips she’s had the opportunity to take, one to a Pirates game and the other to a nearby cavern. For Essence, it’s nice to get moving and learning about things outside of school.

At the end of the day, Essence returns home to her large family (four brothers and one little sister). To help get through the challenges of school, she looks up to her mom as inspiration, as well as her older brother for the good grades he earns.

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