Agape North friends and family, meet Markiya Groves of Aspire Hanley Middle School, one of our partner schools that we have the privilege of working with each year. Many of you had the chance to attend our Summer Party where we celebrate the work of our partners at our office space with food trucks, yard games, live music, and Memphis-themed t-shirts for sale. Each year we run a shirt design contest among our partner schools, and Markiya was this year's contest winner! We wanted to highlight her on the blog so you have the chance to meet this amazing young person:


How did you first become interested in art?  What types of art do you enjoy engaging in?

When I was eleven years old I started drawing with my friend Aminiah at school whenever we finished our work and had some free time.  She and I bonded over our drawing time together and this encouraged my love for art.  I enjoy sketching pictures of things that I see around me every day. I just grab a pencil and start drawing.


How is Aspire Hanley Middle School helping you prepare for college?

Aspire Hanley Middle School is helping me prepare for college by providing me with great teachers.  All of our teachers are pretty hard on all of the students because they want us to reach all of our goals and achieve things that seem too hard to accomplish.  My teachers always encourage me to do my best and never to let fear stop me.  I am so thankful for the teachers that support me.


What colleges are you interested in attending and why?

I am unsure at this moment where I would like to attend college but I am definitely going. My mother and father did not have the opportunity to attend college, so graduating from college is a major goal for me and my family.  I want to set an example for my little brother and sister and make my momma proud!


Talk a little bit about the design you submitted, what led you to do that design specifically?

The design I submitted included the ethnic makeup of Memphis, Memphis Grizzlies, University of Memphis Tigers, faith and beauty, all the things that make me think of my hometown.  Most importantly, my drawing included Orange Mound, the community where I grew up and where I still live today.  I wanted to create a drawing that did not show any of the negative things that happen in Memphis, and so I used the phrase “I Heart Memphis”.  Although my original image was outside the box in terms of creativity I love that Agape North could take the basic phrase and run with it for a shirt design for their Summer Party.


What are some of your favorite things about Memphis?

I love going downtown to see the Mississippi River and the Hernando de Soto Bride at night with all of the bright lights. I love the food in Memphis, it is delicious! I hate the fact that Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis but I am proud that he came to my city to fight for equal rights.


Do you plan to make art a part of your career or hobbies after high school?  If so, how?

I want to eventually be a lawyer so art would be more of a hobby for me.