Frita is one determined student. By the time she graduated from high school, she had experienced more challenges than many people battle in a lifetime. While some might have been distracted by the obstacles, Frita kept her focus on a better life.
“The difficulties I have encountered from my past have allowed me to succeed and want to better my education,” she says. “The more I matured, I began to realize that I had great potential despite all the circumstances that stood to bring me down.”
Frita’s academic journey was riddled with responsibilities that most of her suburban peers in the Mason City School District never had to endure. When she was 12 years old, her mother was diagnosed with lung disease and was prescribed medication to which she eventually became addicted. Her father already was deceased. Her mother’s struggles took a toll on Frita’s schooling, forcing her to move frequently – including twice during her fifth-grade year. She eventually landed in Mason, Ohio, with her grandmother.
“I was barely in school,” she recalls. “And when I was, I couldn’t tell you what I was learning half the time. Moving to Mason was tough for many reasons: the environment, the people and the school’s curriculum. I was moving from a predominately Black area to a predominately White, upper-income area – moving into a new school and not remembering what I learned the year before. I was judged because I didn’t own name brands and didn’t look a certain way. It was hard for me to concentrate because I was worried about everything else.”
In spite of it all, Frita made it work.
“From sixth grade to my freshman year of high school, I was given a lot of help and was able to maintain a C average. I thought being a C-average student was good, since it meant that I was passing. It wasn’t until my junior year that I realized that ‘maintaining’ wasn’t the problem. It was achieving greater things that proved to be more difficult.”
So, she decided to take charge of her destiny.
“Frita literally bucked down and took her fate into her own hands,” says Dale Conner, broadcast journalism instructor at William Mason High School, where Frita graduated in 2015. “She asked questions, and sought out help and suggestions. She is a young woman who is extremely conscientious, caring and determined to succeed.”
“Frita was a leader and a role model to her peers,” adds Amy Ortega, Spanish teacher at Mason High School. “She not only contributed to class discussions consistently, but she was always proactive and concerned about whether or not she understood the task at hand. Her hard work earned her the Rotary Award for outstanding effort, as well as the Outstanding Achievement Award for her involvement with the Mason African American Students for Change (M.A.A.S.C.).”
Those awards were the first of a string of accomplishments she has earned since.
Frita received a four-year, renewable $500 Founder's Award scholarship from Women’s Alliance in 2015, which she credits for helping her take the next steps toward a successful career in journalism. “I wouldn’t have been able to attend my dream school, Columbia College Chicago, without it,” she says.
Frita has joined the Student Government Association, the Black Student Union and her campus’ chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She is a digital journalism intern at Street-Level Youth Media, where she teaches young students newswriting, as well as how to produce and edit videos.
Frita’s ability to turn enormous odds into motivation for success is what sets her apart from her peers. Women’s Alliance is proud to have contributed to her long-term success.