These alumna have an impact as Black educators

For Black History Month PeerForward is highlighting two alumnae making an impact on their community as HBCU graduates and Black educators.

Kaylah Clark has a legacy to uphold, “coming from a family of educators, I saw first-hand the impact that teachers have on the lives of others.” She started on her path as a Peer Leader, then a Howard University athlete, and graduate. Now, as an English Teacher and Assistant Coach for Miami Carol Senior High School, she sees her work as “trying to share with others what is continuously done toward me.” Her work has made waves in her community, she was recently highlighted as ETO Exemplar for her work as a first-year teacher. 

Dayeashia Viel, an alumna from Bethune-Cookman University, followed in the footsteps of her university’s founder and became an elementary school teacher. She chose to ignite a love for learning after realizing, “my elementary school teachers created a spark in me.” As a PeerForward alumna, she notes that “confidence was the biggest thing I took away from PeerForward,” a characteristic she now instills in all of her students. 

We spoke with Kaylah and Dayeashia during Black History Month to celebrate their work as HBCU graduates, PeerForward Alumni, and first-year educators.

What inspired you to pursue your current career?

Kaylah Clark Classroom

Kaylah Clark, English Teacher at Miami Carol City Senior HS

Kaylah: Naturally, I was drawn to the classroom and discovered my passion for helping students in various capacities. Whether it was through a tutoring program or summer camp, I have always been inspired by the power of the youth. Along with this, I recognize the significance that my past teachers had on my life. Pushing me towards excellence, I was inspired to strive to do the same for others.

Dayeashia: Seeing the desperate need for educators and my passion for learning has inspired me to become an educator. My elementary school teachers created a spark in me. Their fun, engaging lessons and field trips made a special love and thirst for knowledge. I’ve seen how my peers don’t share that same passion for education. I felt I wanted to be the one to ignite that same passion that my teachers gave me to the generations that are coming up now. Some of those teachers are still my heroes and it wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t a hero for my students now and to come.

What drives you to positively impact others?

Kaylah: Reflecting on my personal life, I am blessed to have a village that always pours into me. To know that I have the potential to have the same impact on others is the driving force behind the work I do. Positively impacting the lives of others reminds me that I’m putting my God-given talents to good use. Whether it is through teaching, coaching, or being a listening ear, I want to make someone’s life experience easier in some shape or form. Essentially, I am trying to share with others what is continuously done toward me.

Dayeashia: Every time I hear my students say “This is the best day ever” or say “You’re one of the best teachers ever” it lets me

Dayeashia Viel, First Year Teacher of the Year

Dayeashia Viel, Palm Terrace Elementary

know that I am doing my best when it comes to being their educator. Truly, teaching is all about being that positive impact on a student’s life because you never know what obstacles they may have faced outside of school. So being that nurse, friend, sister, or parent to those students drives me to make sure I do everything I can for my students in the most comfortable way for them.

What did you learn from your PeerForward experience that you’ve applied to your work as an educator? 

Kaylah: Assisting my peers to prepare for life after high school helped me realize I have a passion for helping others, especially through the route of education. Collaborating with so many bright individuals to achieve such great accomplishments really taught me that no goal is too big for me to achieve, both professionally and personally.

Dayeashia: Personally, it gave me the confidence in myself to go after what I want. I learned to never give up based on unforeseen circumstances. Overall PeerForward has given me the opportunity to see how you can make something flourish from the ground up with love, true passion, and dedication.


Dayeashia Viel, graduate, tosses apple

Dayeashia Viel, Palm Terrace Elementary

Kaylah Clark, Miami Carol City Senior High School

In your opinion, why should low-income students pursue post-secondary education?

Kaylah: Postsecondary education is essential in opening the doors of opportunity for every student. Beyond the lessons learned in the classroom, the knowledge, and experiences that come with a postsecondary education expand one’s view of the world. Students who come from low-income backgrounds should not be defined or limited by their financial situations. If anything, they have the resilience and capabilities to thrive academically and professionally at these institutions of higher learning. A strong post-secondary education puts them in the position to network with others, become experts in their field, and learn about themselves. Pursuing a post-education is the key to changing the realities of both themselves and those in their communities.

Dayeashia: It’s important to learn a skill, follow your desire, and perfect your craft so that you can create the life that you want and change your current situation. I was considered a low-income student so I know help there is help out there.

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