Kiwanis Student of the Month November 2022: Kaia Manning
FHS senior Kaia Manning, 17, finds a lot of joy in helping others. Her main form of community service is coaching 5th grade girls’ basketball for Ferndale Youth Athletics, and she said she loves being a mentor to younger students.
“Not only did I learn about basketball, but I was also a support for young girls, which felt incredible,” she said. “These young girls still reach out to me for advice, or just as someone to lean on, which feels very empowering.”
Manning is involved in multiple activities, clubs and groups at Ferndale High School, from leadership to National Honor Society to DECA. She even went to state for the latter group.
Manning has a 3.5 grade point average and plans on attending Whatcom Community College after graduation. Then, she hopes to earn a business degree with a minor in Spanish, with the goal of working as an international correspondent for a company.
“It’s really cool, because you get to experience different places and things,” Manning said of her potential future career. “Also, I love traveling and I think I always will – I want to incorporate that into my job.”
Her business teacher, Michele Stern, piqued her interest in the business world.
Manning has applied to many West Coast universities: the University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Oregon, Willamette University and the University of Southern California.
At the moment, Manning works at a Bellingham Starbucks. She has a wide variety of responsibilities there: ensuring that customers have high-quality drinks, keeping the store clean and stocked with food and handling money.
Manning said the two most important issues facing the local community are women’s rights and inclusivity.
“I advocate for everyone, including the people who usually get overlooked, and make sure they feel welcome,” she said.
Manning said two people have been particularly influential in her life. One is her neighbor, who was the survivor of a Nazi internment camp in World War II and taught her about perseverance. The other person is her mother.
“My mom has taught me everything I know, and reminds me every day that everyone has value and to treat others the way you want to be treated,” Manning said.