Shianne posing in front of a 2020 sign

Shianne is a senior at AF Hartford High and founder of the Natural Hair Club. We talked with Shianne to learn more about her and what it means to be a leader.

Tell us about yourself.
I spend a lot of time with my mom. I love shopping. I also do cheerleading, and I love doing hair.

We know that school and life look different right now. What is something you’ve been doing a lot more of lately?
Netflix! I just finished “All American”, and now I’m watching “Little Fires Everywhere”, which is a really interesting show. I’ve noticed a lot of subtle things in that show that tie back to society like race and poverty. I’ve been encouraging my friends to keep their spirits up. One of my friends is like a brother to me, and I’ve been helping him with his college decision.

We’re sure they’re all really grateful to have a friend like you. Earlier in the year, we talked about how you founded the Natural Hair Club. That’s amazing! Can you tell us more about the club?
Last year, I took a college trip to Eastern Connecticut State University. They talked about all of their clubs, including a natural hair club and the importance of understanding your culture. I wanted students at AF Hartford High to have that and be able to connect to their roots the way students at Eastern were doing, so my friend and I founded the Natural Hair Club. We learn about natural hair and the best products to use for different types of hair.

Awesome! What’s something you’ve learned as one of the club’s founders?
It takes partnership to do anything. If you don’t build relationships with people and have friends to give you advice, you won’t be able to lead. A lot of things I’ve accomplished are things I’ve learned from other people.

Relationships are very important. Does the club meet virtually now?
I’ve been FaceTiming a few people from the club to talk about hair and give advice. The other day, I talked to one of my friends about the best way to cut hair to keep a curl pattern. So people from the club have still been connecting with each other for things like that.

Is there a leader who inspires you? Why?
My step-mother. She takes pride in who she is. She doesn’t force ideas and beliefs on me. She allows me to grow into my own person. She leads with love and understanding. She lets me make my own mistakes, but I’ve learned and grown from them.

Last question! Do you know what you want to do after graduation?
I want to study political science and secondary education. Then, I want to come back and teach at AF Hartford High. I would teach either history or government. Eventually, I want to start my own school so I can teach kids more about their culture, individuality, and the importance of education. I don’t just want to tell them that education is important—I want to show them why.

That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Shianne. Stay safe and good luck with the rest of the year.

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