Meet Canisha Turner, SGA President

Canisha TurnerCanisha Cierra Turner was born to the proud parents of Cornell and Elnora Turner of Waverly, Virginia. Her love for the stage was noticed at the early age of 2, when she started on her quest of competitions. She was entered into several baby contests and beauty pageants in the local area. At the tender age of four, she began to command the stage with her presence and ability to speak in front of large audiences. This prompted her parents to enroll her in Deborah School of Dance with a focus in baton twirling. She displayed a great talent for this skill, thus she was afforded the opportunity to march with the Sussex Central High School Marching Tigers Band when she was only in the fourth grade. In fifth grade, she was the Overall Winner at the County Wide High School Talent Show. Canisha then competed in her first large state pageant in Williamsburg, Virginia. The Preteen Virginia Scholarship and Recognition Program allowed her to compete against 100 girls all over the state. She won Overall Speech, First Runner-up Talent, and Top 15 Semi-Finalist. She then advanced to the Preteen America Program in Birmingham, Alabama where she was awarded the Special Judges Award. Her pageant career took off from there. Since then, she has garnered several state and national titles in over 14 years of competing. In May of 2009, Canisha traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to compete in the National Dream Girls USA Pageant. She is the former 2009-2010 Grand National Dream Girls USA Supreme Spokesmodel Queen. Because of her high achievements in pageants, Canisha is now the print model for Van Sciver Photography. 

She is an avid citizen in her community and engages in several outside projects. For the past four years, she has been a camp counselor for the Sussex, Petersburg, and Portsmouth 4-H Camp. During the course of the week, she worked with countless children between the ages of 9 and 13. Through this summer program, she has founded the Shining Stars Illuminating the World Baton Troupe in 2008. It is a mentorship that teaches young girls life skills, while incorporating the skill of baton twirling. Each year she was awarded “Most Outstanding Counselor.” In addition to working with the youth at camp, she along with several other teens donated quilts and baby blankets to the Petersburg Crisis Pregnancy Center in Petersburg, VA. This organization reaches out to expecting mothers who find themselves unable to provide for their unborn child financially. 

She attended the 2007 annual Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (Y.A.D.A.P.P.) conference held at Longwood University in Farmville, VA. This is a highly energetic and fun filled conference for youth in grades 9-12. It focuses on preventing youth alcohol and drug use, and emphasizes the importance of having a successful future. Fortunately, she was selected as a Youth Leader. Among 80 applicants, she was selected in the top 40. Secondly, among the 40, she was 15 years of age, the youngest of them all and had the opportunity to teach a class that consisted of 15 students from all over Virginia that were over the age of 17. She was also selected to speak at the VEA Minimum Wage Rally at Sussex Central Middle School alongside Senator Louise Lucas, Princess Moss, and Delegate Roslyn Tyler. She spoke on issues concerning the importance of the employees of Sussex County Public Schools from a student’s perspective. 

Her faith is the driving force in her life. She attended First Baptist Church from birth until 17 years of age, where she served as Youth Choir Director and Youth Praise Dance Director. She was also the intermediate and beginner class teacher for Vacation Bible School. Currently, she is a member of Liberty Baptist Church, where she sings in the youth choir and praise dance team. 

She enjoys the excitement of politics and all that it entails. During the month of November 2008, she was selected to unveil Senator Mike Johanns’ portrait at the United States Department of Agriculture building in Washington, DC. Her heavy involvement in 4-H and service learning projects was a deciding factor in the selection process. There, she met National Senators and Delegates. Also, the live taping of the ceremony added additional thrill! Through the 4-H Program, she was selected to attend the Virginia Model General Assembly as a Senator. During her second year, she was runner-up for Youth Lieutenant Governor. Because of her outstanding performance in the chambers of the General Assembly, Canisha was selected to escort Governor Robert McDonnell, the Youth Governor, and other important officials at the 2010 Session. Also through 4-H, she was named the 2008-2009 Southeast Ambassador for the Virginia 4-H Cabinet. At the 2009 statewide 4-H Congress, she was the Share-the-Fun Talent Show MC alongside co-star Robbie McCammon, with over 650 people in attendance on the campus of Virginia Tech. 

In high school, Canisha was the Senior Class President, President of the 4-H Hospitality Club, Parliamentarian of the STEM Club, Chairperson of the Prom Committee, Sr. Beta Honor Student, member of the Future Education Association (FEA), Coed Tri-Hi-Y, Section Leader for the Performance Choir, member of the Gospel Choir, and Director of the Sussex Central Middle School Drama Team, among other things. Most importantly, Canisha was the 2010 Class Valedictorian, in which she was filmed on WRIC-ABC TV Channel 8 for the ‘Best of the Class’ at Paramount’s Kings Dominion. 

Overall, Canisha has accomplished so much at an early age; however, she realizes that her life has only begun. All of the above accolades were only the preliminary to the things to come in her professional career. She is extremely humbled to be a Junior, USDA 1890 Scholar on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University majoring in Agricultural Business with a 3.96 cumulative grade point average. She maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average until the first semester of her junior year, when she 

received her very first ‘B’. On campus, she is actively involved in the Student Government Association as the current 2013-2014 SGA President. She is the former 2012-2013 Vice President of Internal Affairs, the 2011-2012 Senator of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, 2010-2011 Executive Assistant to the President, Lobbyist for Common Cause: The Movement, Honors Mentor, MANRRS member, and a Research Undergraduate Assistant in the Department of Agribusiness. In March of 2011, she was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta Freshmen Honor Society in which she was crowned 2011-2012 Miss Alpha Lambda Delta. As Miss ALD, she is the community service chair and student ambassador for the organization. She spearheaded the Let’s Move! Hampton Elementary Kick-off Assembly in September. Let’s Move! is a campaign started by First Lady Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity. Canisha was interviewed by Greensboro WFMY Channel 2 News on behalf of Alpha Lambda Delta as the spokesperson for the event. The event garnered a lot of county and statewide attention. In this very same year, she was awarded the Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit for highest grade point average in her major, and Phi Kappa Phi Exemplary Freshman. Canisha was recently filmed by actors Malik Yoba and Tatyana Ali for UNCF.org. In addition, on March 25, 2011 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Canisha was honored by superstar Janet Jackson, as a 2011 Janet Jackson 20under20 Youth Award Winner. The Janet Jackson 20under20 induction was developed from Jackson’s Number Ones, Up Close and Personal tour. For each city that Janet Jackson visited on her tour, she met, honored and recognized up to 20 young people under the age of 20 for the extraordinary contributions that they have made to their local communities and abroad. Recently, in March of 2012, she traveled abroad to Ghana, West Africa where she, along with 10 other students, donated books and school supplies to village schools in Kumasi, Ghana. 

Canisha looks forward to attending graduate school upon graduating from North Carolina A&T in 2014. In addition, she will begin transitioning into her early career with the USDA Superior National Forest Service in Duluth, Minnesota as a Realty Specialist. Her ultimate goal is to become White House Press Secretary in Washington, DC. Through this great blessing, she will continue to be of service to others in helping them to fully live out their divine purpose in life. After all, “If she has helped someone along the way, then her living shall not be in vain.”