For Kiah Charsyl Mylese Thorn the quest for true beauty is one that begins with recognition and appreciation of the exceptional splendor of the mundane. She has learned to celebrate the quiet miracles of her giggling nieces or the crayola-splayed sunset outside her home. The youngest child by sixteen years born into a family of seven, Kiah grew up with big dreams and quiet hopes. Being the littlest sister was not always easy, but she feels blessed to have drawn so much support and advice from her older siblings, “They always told it like it was. I have grown from their honesty and learned from both their triumphs and mistakes.”
Kiah excelled academically throughout high school, making Headmaster’s List all four years and receiving various other academic recognition and awards (i.e., National Merit Scholar, National Achievement Finalist, Cum Laude Society). By chance, she unearthed a surprising penchant for drama and creative writing during her high school career as well. Thrust into the theater department by a fine arts credit requirement, she thrived amid the stage spotlights and worn scripts. Her short play entitled Last Chance won the Fort Worth Theatre High School Playwriting Award her sophomore year. Her true passions, however, are for foreign languages and world affairs. Kiah adores languages, often describing them as “ethereal puzzles” and recognizing them as essential bridges to peace. As Department Cultural Orientations Officer of Fort Worth Youth International, she works to promote non-violence through intercultural education. And as an International Leadership Academy alumna, she remembers hearing the beauty in the multi-lingual babble filling the hallways.
Though she loves to travel and can’t wait to see more of the world in college, Kiah believes that truly making a difference also begins by casting one’s bucket down where she is. She serves as Co-chairwoman of the Fort Worth Youth Advisory Board, a community-service and civic engagement committee that serves as a liaison between the youth of her city and the city council. Her favorite extra-curricular activity, however, is her weekly volunteer job at HOPE Farm, a local after-school program for disadvantaged minority children from single-parent homes where she serves in a variety of ways from language arts and math tutor to kitchen duty to playground chaperone. Whatever her task for the day, what she looks forward to most is seeing the kids. “I do it for the smiles,” she says, “Just because circumstance has thrown extra obstacles into the lives of these kids does not make them any more or less deserving of the best things in life, from homework help or emotional counseling to ice cream sandwiches and Six Flags. Children should be allowed to be children.”
Kiah is currently vying for the position of valedictorian of her graduating class at Fort Worth’s prestigious All Saints’ Episcopal School. If she succeeds she will be the first African-American student to do so in the history of the school. She plans to attend either Stanford or Brown University, double major in International Relations and Arabic or Italian, and pursue a career in diplomacy or international philanthropy.