By Kev Moyé
For LEGACY Foundation
A magnanimous individual who takes pride in being a woman and an African American – Foster has established a goal to make an indelible impact on society.
She is cognizant that the best way to obtain the aforementioned feat is through a quality education. A sophomore at Staley High School, Foster – who has a grade point average of 3.88 – has constructed an impressive academic résumé.
“Many of my classes are easy,” she says. “But for the complicated classes, I stay up later at night, working to understand the material.”
Unlike most teenagers, Foster is self-motivated to be an elite student.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well I want an academic scholarship,” Foster states. “So I know my grades need to be on point.”
Having to address myopic opinions has also stimulated Foster’s desire to excel in the classroom. Staley, located north of the Missouri River, has a small African American enrollment. Thus the only knowledge many of the students have of blacks is what is shown on television. In most instances, those televised images are negative.
Foster has had to deal with the skewed views of her peers on numerous occasions.
“My freshman year I did not like Staley. There were a couple of kids there who’d say racially insensitive things and I would have to bite my tongue. I just don’t want to fall into a stereotype,” she admits. “I know that I must watch how I behave. I don’t want people looking at me and thinking all black people act a certain way.”
Considering the long-term ramifications of responding irrationally is what keeps Foster from acting in a manner that could create problems.
“It took me a couple of months to adapt. I got uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to do anything out of hand,” she says. “I wanted a clean slate in high school. So I usually just walked away from the situations and stayed away from those people.”
But there have been instances when Foster has not walked away. Instead, she opted to astutely address the closed-minded comments.
“I did that a lot my freshman year. Some people wouldn’t listen to me, so I just stopped talking to them,” she acknowledges. “It has actually helped me a lot with my patience.”
Ronald Foster, Skyler’s dad, closely monitors her scholastic activities. He typically has a general idea of when his daughter may have to face uneasy situations.
“Sometimes she may feel uncomfortable. In many of her classes, she’s the only African American student,” he says. “When things take place that are in the news which are racially divisive, they tend to talk about it in school. I believe that makes her uncomfortable.
“She often has to be that lone black voice when someone has a question or there’s a conversation about a certain racial situation.”
Has Mr. Foster informed his daughter of how to react during those occurrences?
“I’ve always told her to respect herself. As long as she respects herself and respects her family, everything else will take care of itself,” he answers. “If she stays true to herself, remains honest, and if she respects herself and the person she’s talking to, she’ll just have to accept everything for what it is.”
Foster notes that she is able to handle those tense moments due to sound parental guidance.
“My parents have advised me not to pay attention to the people,” she states. “I was told to just focus on myself and what I need to do. That’s what I did. That’s the best thing for me to do.”
Fortunately, as of this point of the 2015-2016 school year, Foster has not encountered any racially insensitive acts. When commenting on the development, Foster says, “I’ve enjoyed my sophomore year much more.”
As a means to make lemons into lemonade, Foster is motivated to dispel negative stereotypes of blacks.
Foster is also a Beyoncé zealot. Therefore, she too is a staunch feminist. Foster appreciates the business savvy and will to succeed that the iconic entertainer often exudes.
“She is a very successful African American woman. She’s a feminist. She’s just a great example to follow,” Foster states. “She’s married, is a mother, and stands up for women’s rights. That’s how I want to be.”
As an avid sports fan, Foster also draws inspiration from individuals such as tennis champions Venus and Serena Williams in addition to WNBA standout Skylar Diggins.
“They are examples of black women that excel at the highest levels of their sports,” she says. “They inspire me to try and get the most out of my God-given abilities. They are role models all young people can look up to.”
Foster aims to exterminate abhorrent perceptions of both blacks and women. She has immense confidence in her ability to be a conduit to positive change.
“I can accomplish a lot. I realize that I have a lot of potential,” Foster states. “If I focus and put my mind to it, I can go very far.”
Based on Mr. Foster’s viewpoint of his daughter, it is easy to recognize from where her swagger emanates.
“The sky’s the limit for Skyler. Whatever she chooses to pursue she’ll be successful. She’s internally driven,” he says. “Whatever she’d like to do, I believe she’ll be able to achieve it.”
The 16-year-old is eager to battle the marginalization that too many women and African Americans face on a regular basis.
“I want to use my education to get a quality career. I want to be successful and set a high standard for my life,” she said. “Really, I have to remind myself that not all people are the same. Basically, I just always have to be the better person.”