From Key West High School’s (KWHS) Class of 2020, Divya Nivani has branched herself out from the little rock and into the big waters of Cambridge, Massachusetts. “…I try to come back to Key West as often as I can,” explained Nivani. “There’s no place like it, [so] I do miss [the town] a lot.”
Currently attending one of the top universities in the nation, Harvard University, Nivani is studying a major in Political Science and minors in Spanish and Film. Although she loves the feel of “college life” and being independent, there are times where she misses being a high school student again. “I do miss the support of the high school – especially KWHS – for sure,” stated Nivani. “It was great creating relationships with teachers and students at KWHS, [which is] a lot harder to do on a large college campus.”
To most students, getting into an Ivy League, a collegiate athletic conference consisting of eight private research universities in the northeast of the United States, is beyond challenging. However, if Nivani didn’t shoot for the stars, she wouldn’t be where she is today. “[KWHS] taught me that it doesn’t matter how small you are – if you have a dream, then there’s no barrier you can’t overcome to achieve it,” disclosed Nivani. Because of the school and city’s size, there is doubt in KWHS because of how small compared to other places. But looking at the school’s state titles in athletics, traveling to New York City (NYC) for a film competition, and succeeding as an A’ rated school, KWHS attains huge accomplishments.
When Nivani left the island, she brought a piece of KWHS with her: Conch Pride. “To me, Conch Pride [is] being a part of and creating supportive communities as well as keeping an open mind and heart about things,” said Nivani. She tries to live by those values by being open, accepting, supportive, and giving wherever she goes.
The guidance and reinforcement from her old KWHS teachers gave Nivani a push in the right direction. “Edward Smith and Pedro Lara were my biggest supporters who constantly encouraged me to go after my dreams and gave me the support to do so,” explained Nivani. She continues, “Alyssa Cerkleski and Karen Castro [were] two of the kindest people at KWHS, and I was always really inspired by how they were able to create such a joyful learning environment [with their] hard classes.” Nivani is very fortunate to have had these instructors in her life and will carry their inspiration with her at all times.
If Nivani never branched outside of Key West, she wouldn’t have been able to do what she is passionate about, and further experience a life of her own. You have the choice to either pursue your dreams or not, so grab that pencil (or pen) and write how your story is going to go, just like how Nivani did.