ORLANDO, Fla. -- Finding strength in her heritage, an Evans High School student’s actions are now getting nationally recognized for building up the Pine Hills community and promoting equality.

Across the auditorium in Evans High School, Sarai Antoine moves from one place to another.

“She is coming, but we don’t know if she is bringing the other skirts,” yelled Antoine to a teacher.

On Wednesday, the Evans High senior worked hard to make sure the Club Kreole Showcase went off without a hitch. It’s a club she started by herself after she saw a need in Pine Hills.

“I know growing up, when I was in middle school, or even early on hearing stories from other people, it wasn’t always a joy or exciting to say that you were Haitian,” said Antoine.

Haitian herself, Antoine immigrated to America when she was 6 with her family. Unfortunately like many new kids, she was bullied.



“You face insecurities, because you are young and you are still trying to find who you are as a person,” said Antoine. “So when someone tells you, you are not good enough at a young age, it sticks with you.”

But in Antoine’s case, it only made her stronger. She grew to be a student government leader, an athlete, an internship holder and even homecoming queen.

Antoine does all of those activities and more, to help her friends, her community, and for her family.  

“My parents, when they came to America, they came for one reason only, and it was to give me a better life, so being Haitian has always been my motivation to be the best that I could be,” said Antoine.

Just this month, the National Coalition for Community Schools recognized Antoine for all her hard work, naming her Youth Leader of the Year.