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American agricultural scientist, inventor, and professor George Washington Carver said, “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” Education and the freedom of independence are two things that are very important to Momence High School rising senior Endya Hayes. She said she learned to be independent and self-sufficient from her mother, who has been a big inspiration and role model throughout her life. “I feel like you can’t always rely on other people when it comes to certain stuff. So you’ve got to learn how to do that stuff yourself,” she said.

  By Erica Loos

Thinking about getting closer to high school graduation is both an exciting time and an uncertain one for most students. Endya seems to have a good handle on the situation, saying she feels that, “It’s a big step.” A big step that will mean she got through school, is closer to college, and closer to adulthood.

Endya’s plans for after high school include attending college to study fashion design, then get her real estate license, and finally pursue cosmetology to become a licensed esthetician. For those unfamiliar, an esthetician is a trained beauty professional who provides a variety of skin treatments and spa services. Endya says she wants to focus specifically on facials, waxing, and eyebrows. Her drive for this particular career choice is a desire to help people feel beautiful on the outside.


It’s an easy guess that Endya is a creative person, being interested in fashion design, but there’s another level of design that is the motivation for wanting to obtain her real estate license – interior design. Endya said she’s always been interested in houses and interior design, and this will help her in a career as a real estate agent when it comes to staging the interior of the homes she’s been hired to sell.


Endya is no stranger to hard work in the classroom. She shared a moment when she had some difficulty with a particular assignment during the Spring 2023 semester, where she got a lower grade than was acceptable to her. She said she aims for A’s and B’s, but doesn’t want to accept a grade lower than a C. In the case of this specific class assignment in forensic science, she said, “I did not stop working until I got [my grade] up. And I got an A in that class.”

During our conversation, Endya had a lot of great things to say about the community of Momence. “I think it’s a great place to go, and the education is actually good,” she said. One of her favorite classes is English. When considering creative writing, Endya said she feels like she produces her best work when she hasn’t been given a specific topic; when her creativity has free reign. Her friends are also an important part of the community around her.


If asked, Endya said she believes her friends would, “Most definitely say I’m helpful. I’m very supportive of my friends no matter what.” Being a dependable friend is something that’s important to her because she understands that sometimes people need help. As an independent person, however, she feels most comfortable being the one able to provide help to those in need, rather than seeking help for herself.


As much as she loves her community and friends, traveling to new places is something that Endya has a strong desire to do. Japan and Switzerland are of a particular interest as potential travel destinations because of the beautiful scenery she’s seen in pictures. “You don’t get to see that every day. It’s just different from what I see,” she explained.


As of right now, she said she’s considering moving to Texas at some point, feeling like it’s a place where she would be able to fit in. During our interview we were discussing different cities in Texas she may want to visit when she said, “I just want to go everywhere.” If you ask us, with Endya’s thirst for knowledge, perseverance, desire to learn new things and see new places, and her independent nature, we think she has a bright and exciting future ahead of her.

I just want to go everywhere.
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