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By Maisie Brown

Growing up in a small town in southwest Mississippi is just how it sounds like it would be to a 15-year-old teenager. Boring.

Tionna Anderson is an incoming junior at Clinton High School in Clinton, Miss.  Anderson was born on July 26, 2000, and is originally from Port Gibson, Miss.

“I didn’t like it,” she said. “I felt like there was more for me to see and do, and since it was a small town, I was used to seeing certain things, and there wasn’t anything new.”

Anderson says one of her life’s greatest challenges was moving away from a rural community like Port Gibson to a much larger, more active place like Clinton. While attending Clinton High School, she has been a member of many clubs, including Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society, Anchor Club, Spanish Club and the Cultural Awareness Society. She has also been a part of the Health and Human Services Academy.

Being part of a school that offers diversity and opportunity is an experience Anderson highly values. Outside school, she is a member of her local choir and is active in her church.

Anderson says her future endeavors include becoming a speech pathologist for children across the world.

“I want to teach people from third-world countries how to communicate better,” she said. While speaking of her joy of teaching others, she mentioned her love for talking in general. “I want to become a speech pathologist so I can teach children how to properly communicate if they have speech impediments.”

She has been an only child for more than 15 years, but has recently gained a baby sister, Teiyah, on June 30, 2016.

Anderson considers herself to be a shy person when first meeting people. But after much time spent with the Clinton native, Anderson easily becomes one of the most outspoken individuals you will ever meet. “I love to talk. I believe the youth have voices that aren’t heard as much,” Anderson says. “I want to be that voice.”

As a Clinton resident, she only hears about the “bad side” of Jackson—about the tougher areas and the things that go on. She says city officials need to improve the city’s infrastructure and institute more programs that help prevent local crime.

One thing she hopes to accomplish while at the Youth Media Project is to improve her writing skills, people skills and ability to get along with others. She believes this program has made her a better and more well-rounded person and will definitely help her in the future. She wants to keep doing the things she loves and become the best big sister she can be.