“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, remember, you can achieve” (Mary Kay Ash).
Taniya Davis-Holt definitely has not limited herself and strives to do everything she can to achieve the goals she sets for herself. In fact, one of the goals she has achieved is becoming the Distinguished Young Woman of Clarke County 2021.
She does not take her accomplishment lightly, and she works hard every day to make sure that she is able to wear the title with honor and pride. It is not very hard for her to do because her life embodies the goals and mission of Distinguished Young Women.
Taniya is a natural born leader and stays involved in as much as she can in school and out of school.
“I’m the vice-president of HOSA, which is a medical club that our Health Science teacher is the sponsor of. I’m also on the cheer team at the school,” stated Taniya. “I sing in the choir at my church, Mont Rose Missionary Baptist Church. I teach the children, ages two through five. ”
Outside of school, Taniya has had the honor of participating in an event designed to bring everyone in the community together. Her participation has even earned her an award. Although Taniya is proud of her accomplishment, she is also very humble and understands that it came through hard work and the way she was raised.
“Mrs. Bartee gave me an award for my involvement with the Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Parade because I have been the queen of the parade for ten consecutive years,” explained Taniya. “My mom founded the unity parade, and it was basically for the community to come together. There have been opportunities for other girls to become queen, but they still chose me to do it. I feel like that is a huge opportunity for me to step in to do something because people sometimes think it’s just handed to me because of my mom. That isn’t the case, though. Everything that I’ve received is because I’ve worked hard for it. My mom has pushed me to work hard, but I’ve never won something because of who she is. It’s because of who she raised me to be. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be named the queen for these past ten years because that’s a long time.”
Although Distinguished Young Women has requirements for various service projects, Taniya naturally just does the service projects. She does not do anything for the accolades, but she does them because she sees a need and knows that she is able to do something to help meet that need.
“I’ve participated in a Coats for Kids Drive where I helped raise just over 115 coats to go to all the schools in our community. Another girl and I did a toy drive for Blair Batson as well. We raised a bunch of toys to send to the children for Christmas. My mom and I went to Love’s Kitchen and fed the homeless,” said Taniya. “I’ve been involved in a lot of community things but not because I have to; it’s just something I really want to do. If I see a problem, I don’t like to just point it out and not do anything about it. I don’t feel like it’s worth talking about if you aren’t willing to do something to change it. With everything I’ve been a part of, I did it because I felt like it is something that needed to be done.”
Taniya is very talented, and one of the talents she possesses is dancing.
“I’ve been dancing since I was around four years old. I took dance at the Alpha School of Dance in Meridian. I took ballet for two years, and then I stopped because I was having a knee problem. I was only six and too young to be having knee problems,” recalled Taniya. “I haven’t really done dance professionally since then. I’ve somewhat been self-taught. I do praise dances in churches and have danced with a group in the community.”
Taniya has been very grateful for the strong support that the previous Distinguished Young Woman of Clarke County, Jacy Waltman, has given her so far. She has developed a strong relationship with her and received advice for her upcoming Distinguished Young Women competition with the state. Unfortunately, due to Covid, a lot of the companionship and interactions that Taniya has been looking forward to for months now is not able to happen. Instead of being able to interact with a host family and the other contestants in person, Taniya has had to make adjustments and do the competition virtually.
Although her plans for Distinguished Young Women had to change drastically, Taniya remained positive and handled everything in stride.
As a senior at Quitman High School, Taniya is not only focused on her role as Distinguished Young Woman, but she is enjoying her last year in the school and taking in all of her last moments as a high school student. She has already developed many memories over the years and has one moment each year that stands out over the rest: homecoming.
“Some of my favorite memories of school definitely involve homecoming,” stated Taniya. “Homecoming is just a time for everyone to come together, enjoy each other, and have laughs. I just love when homecoming time comes around. We have alumni from Quitman High School that come to town and have barbeques next to the football field.”
As a senior, she is also already making plans for her future and how she intends to use the abundance of scholarships that she has received from Distinguished Young Women.
“After I graduate high school, I’m definitely going to the University of Southern Mississippi. It’s not too far from my mom, and it has a great nursing program,” explained Taniya. “That is the occupation I would like to go in. I’m going in to neonatal care because of my background with developmentally delayed children. I just love children, so that would be a perfect career for me. I would love to be the nurse that could see children through an illness and watch them come out on the other side healthy and strong.”
Taniya’s own history growing up helps feed her passion for working with children as a neonatal nurse. Her own experiences give her the empathy she needs to help little ones come through hard times.
“When I was around six months to three years old, I was developmentally delayed,” remembered Taniya. “I was having problems with writing, walking, and speech. I took a lot of speech therapy. I really had to work hard to get where I am today. Now, you would never know that I was developmentally delayed with speech, writing, and walking.”
Taniya makes sure to learn from the different experiences she has in life. It is thanks to her experiences and involvement in various projects that makes it where she has some strong advice for everyone around her.
“Love yourself first before you try to love something else or someone else. Love everything you are before you try to branch out into the world, because the world is a cruel place. If you don’t have love in your heart for yourself and the things around you, then it’s going to be hard for you to enjoy the life ahead of you,” advised Taniya.
“Also, follow your dreams. That is important because your dram may not become a reality now, but in the future, the Lord may place something in front of you that could change your whole life. I would have never thought that I would be the Distinguished Young Woman of Clarke County for 2021 when I was in fifth grade. Just put your mind to something, develop a plan to get there, and you will get there.”
The 2021 State Program will be held virtually September 26 (Preliminaries) and September 27 (Finals). You are watch live at 7:00 p.m. CT from http://mcceagles.live.