GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Greenburgh's Diana Sainvil, the reigning Miss Black New York 2014, is proving that beauty, brains, athleticism and grace are the fruits of hard work, family support and a passion for every aspect of her life.
A Woodlands High School graduate and now a senior at Georgetown University, Sainvil is studying English and sociology while competing as a track and field athlete. She was crowned Miss Black New York USA earlier this year, but her new-found royalty has not prevented this hard-working student/athlete and proud Haitian-American from the pursuit of her career goals.
"Sometimes I have no response when people ask me “how do you do it?", Sainvil said. "Balancing school, athletics and pageants is very challenging. For the past couple of weeks I have been heading back and forth from Washington, D.C to New York to attend events.The great thing about me is that I am very organized. I like to write down everything on a calendar with a color code system. I will have one color for track and field practices and meets, one for assignments, papers and exams, and another for pageant events."
Sainvil grew up in Greenburgh public housing and was able to overcome socio-economic barriers earning a full-scholarship to Georgetown University. She did not allow her unstable childhood to affect her schoolwork and hopes to instill that same determination and sense of ambition and drive in students who have come to believe that they are incapable of breaking certain socioeconomic boundaries. She plans to use her life story to help empower young students to use education as an escape to broaden their horizons.
At Georgetown, Sainvil has been a mentor and tutor to students at Thurgood Marshall Academy in the Anacostia section of the District of Columbia. She volunteered as a third grade teacher assistant at the Center City Public Charter Academy in the Shaw district of D.C. Sainvil is in her second term as president of Georgetown University Women of Color Organization, which supports and encourages the leadership of women while acknowledging the unique interaction of race and gender. She was also a coach for Grassroot Project where she helped teach 20 at-risk children about HIV/AIDS and prevention through games and sports activities.
Back home, as Miss Black New York, Sainvil’s official platform, E.Y.G, “Empowering the Younger Generation”, is a program that addresses the achievement gap in the New York State Public Schools. Sainvil's goal is to encourage the younger generation to achieve their goals as she has.
"My parents are the ones who keep me motivated," Sainvil said. "Both my parents are immigrants from Haiti and do not hold an education degree in the United States. I was the first one in my family to attend a prestigious school like Georgetown University. My parents have worked so hard to provide for me and my two older siblings. This included my mom and dad working more than one job when I was growing up in the Greenburgh Housing Authority."
Sainvil says her parents' involvement in her pursuits were an inspiration.
"My parents always wanted the best for me." she said. "They always told me they want me to be better than them. Even though my parents work full-time jobs they always find time to support me in everything that I do, such as attending my track and field meets, award ceremonies and pageant competitions."
Sainvil was accepted as a "Teach For America 2014 Corps" member in Baltimore, Md. She is passionate about social justice, educational access, and young women’s empowerment and leadership. Serving the community has played an important part in shaping who she is today. She hopes to pursue a masters of science in education at John Hopkins University and use her degree to be an advocate for education reform. Sainvil believes that every student deserves the opportunity to attain an excellent education.
Sainvil will complete the school year in May then prepare for the Miss Black America pageant scheduled for August 12-14 in Philadelphia, Pa.
"Knowing that I have the full support from my parents motivates me to shoot for the stars," Sanvil said. "I want to make sure when I establish my career that they do not have to worry about working and paying bills. They have worked so hard in shaping me into the women I am today. They are truly my inspiration."
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