Face of the Week: Kaliyah Anduze of Deer Park Elementary School
Team BCPS is made up of thousands of accomplished and interesting students, employees, and community supporters. “Face of the Week” introduces you to some of the people who make BCPS such an amazing mosaic of talent, caring, and commitment.

Face of the Week: Kaliyah Anduze of Deer Park Elementary School

“Future President,” Kaliyah Anduze begins, seated in her school’s library and addressing the as-yet-unelected commander-in-chief via video. “All the tools to improve the economy can be found in any classroom,” she says, still wearing her safety patrol belt. “Trust me, you can fix anything with school supplies.”

Considering its track record over the years, our country’s leadership would do well to listen to Kaliyah, a Grade 5 student at Deer Park Elementary School. In the 55-second video, she lays out a series of common-sense prescriptions for the economy that are bold in their simplicity and wise beyond her years.

“We need to stick together,” she says, popping the top on a glue stick, “because together, we are better.”

“Our economy should be complex,” she says, holding out handfuls of crayons, “with many hues.”

“We need to cut out excessive spending,” she says, snipping the air with scissors, then picking up a magnifying glass, “and search for more opportunities.”

“Make sure we measure equal opportunity,” she says, running a finger along a ruler, “for all to be trained for tomorrow’s jobs.”

Apparently, many were paying attention. Kaliyah’s part imp, part earnest performance recently earned her the Viewers’ Choice Award, one of two top awards from the National Council for Economic Education’s student video contest, this year titled “What Should the Next President Do to Improve the Economy?” More than 1,500 viewers voted the Deer Park video the best among more than 1,500 entries.

“When I heard about that, I was excited and happy and in shock,” says 10-year-old Kaliyah. “Mostly, it felt good.”

In fact, the video almost didn’t happen. Deer Park’s media specialist, Keishauna Banks, recruited Kaliyah to put together the video on Friday, September 30 – the contest deadline. The two spent about an hour brainstorming ideas and finally filming the final product on Banks’ smart phone. Banks edited the footage on a car ride that night to Washington in order to submit the entry by the midnight deadline. The award came with a $500 gift card for classroom use and a $25 gift card for Kaliyah.

Following the video’s win in mid-October, dignitaries including County Executive Kevin Kamenetz stopped by to congratulate the pair and the story was featured on several Baltimore television news broadcasts. Plus, Kaliyah says, “all my classmates think it’s cool.”

Yet the video is only the latest example of the pair’s successful collaboration. Last year, Banks and Kaliyah earned $8,000 in books and supplies for the school from the Follett Challenge, a video contest focused on how school media centers engage students.

“Kaliyah’s always down for it,” Banks says of her collaborator. “We’ll start joking around with ideas and then come up with some good ideas. You have to be creative when they ask you what story you can tell in less than a minute. That’s not a lot of time.”

For Kaliyah, the daughter of Karen and Marcus Anduze, the projects fit right in with her can-do personality and her interest in acting and current events, especially topics like the economy since mathematics is her favorite subject in school. She’s also a member of the school’s MESA Club, Student Council, and both a safety patroller and library helper.

“She’s an outstanding student,” says Deer Park Principal Renee Jenkins. “She has outstanding character and is a role model for positive behavior.”  

Kaliyah says she paid close attention to the Presidential election this year and likes the message her video imparts, especially the end where she implores elected officials to “erase poverty.” For now, Kaliyah is considering a career as a veterinarian, but one with her own television show. 

“Most people say it’s unusual for someone my age to have an interest in these things,” Kaliyah says. “But I think it’s something everybody should know about. . . . My main thing is I don’t want people to be bored. When they are bored, they don’t listen.”

That’s not an issue for Kaliyah, be it at Deer Park Elementary or in Washington, D.C. When she speaks, everyone listens.

Click here to watch the award-winning video produced by Kaliyah Anduze and Keishauna Banks:

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