Born with club foot, a condition that impairs the use of the feet, Miya Cain has been overcoming an unusual adversity ever since she came into this world. After four corrective surgeries, her feet are no longer twisted in towards each other, but her ankles have limited range of motion. After diligently performing rehabilitating exercises for years, she is now in her fifth year of track and enjoys her status as co-captain. Miya believes that “it is all about working through the pain. It is a blessing to be able to overrule physical weakness with mental strength.”
It is this strength to surmount obstacles that motivates Miya in her daily life. Still, Miya attributes her success to faith in God and people like her family, teachers, and coaches who have supported her throughout her life. She especially gives credit to her mother who she feels has promoted the value of education ever since she was a child
“When my parents got divorced, I watched my mother struggle to continue to provide the best for me and my sister. Her determination has inspired me to strive for the best in everything I do”. Miya takes this commitment to achievement literally. In the top 5% of her class, Miya has been nationally recognized as a National Merit Scholar, a National Achievement Scholar, and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Moreover, she was selected from among Florida’s brightest students to participate in The Young Scholar’s Program at Florida State University where for six weeks she participated in college classes and conducted her own research.
For all of her academic prowess, Miya does not limit herself to experience within the classroom; music is an integral part of her life. She plays first violin in her school orchestra and has received superior ratings at several district and state competitions. Furthermore, as a member of the Jubilate Symphony Orchestra, she performed with such celebrities as Andre Crouch and Bobby McFerrin. A singer as well, Miya has a lead female role in her school’s musical production, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
School, music, and athletics are all central aspects of Miya’s life; however, Miya is also committed to community service. Nominated for the Silver Knight Award for service in the category of general scholarship, Miya is committed to helping children.
Two years ago, along with several of her peers, Miya initiated a mentoring program for young underprivileged, African American girls in Miami-Dade County. This program, Lighting the Way, was designed to provide a beacon of hope for teenage girls who would benefit from having a mentor. Each week had its own theme: respect, managing money, career choices, and pride for their cultural heritage, to name a few. Although funding for this activity fell through, Miya continues to help children, working as a tutor in a similar program for underprivileged boys, called Right Trak. Moreover, she has been Vice President of the Operation Smile club at her school for three years, organizing fundraisers so that children worldwide can receive correctional surgery for facial deformities. Miya truly believes in the value of service: “Without the blessing of altruism,” she says, “I would never have had the opportunities I’ve been given. For me, giving back to the community is an essential part of life.”