Recipe for success

Nyah Acoff

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Nyah Acoff was born and raised in Tallahassee where she loved the liveliness of the college town atmosphere. She enjoyed the cheers heard at football games and the precision marching and sounds of Florida A&M University’s Marching 100. She was young but envisioned one day leading a cheer in Bragg Memorial Stadium as a Rattler cheerleader.

Her mother, who is a hairstylist, expanded her business (Loving My Hair) and moved to St. Pete when Nyah was in the fifth grade, but she never stopped dreaming of being a Rattler.

Nyah Acoff

Now that she has graduated from Northeast High School, the opportunity to attend college will bring her back to the City of the Seven Hills.

For the past four years, Nyah studied in the Northeast’s culinary arts program where she was introduced to the art of serving people. Learning the importance of people skills has enhanced her appreciation for the work her mother does in the hair salon.

“I have done a lot for the community and school through culinary,” said Nyah. “For community service, we’ve cooked several different foods and fed the homeless. To see people’s faces go from frowns to smiles is priceless.”

Being the daughter of a hairstylist has its perks aside from learning customer service. Nyah’s captivating hairstyles would lean heavy on most people’s budgets. Even after a night of cheering and sweating at a basketball game, her hair was back in place by morning.

The culinary arts program at Northeast High puts on a weekly event called the Viking Bistro, which is held at the school’s restaurant each Wednesday. The Viking Bistro is run by the students who prepare, cook and serve meals.

During these events, Nyah learned various jobs from preparing the food tables and making sure everything is neat and tidy to prepping the food, setting the plates out for the cooks and making it all look presentable.

In addition to her involvement in the culinary program, her extracurricular activities include basketball cheerleading, where she was the team captain and participated in all four years of high school. As the captain, she was tasked with making sure the team knew the cheers and performed in unison. She sometimes had to use extra people skills to make it through a session, but that’s part of being the captain.

In the community, she joined the AKA AKAdemy youth program six years ago. There, Nyah was involved in various college-bound activities.

Nyah figured out the recipe to return home to Tallahassee, and the main ingredient is education.  In the fall, she will attend Tallahassee Community College and transfer to FAMU to earn her bachelor’s degree in business management. She plans to start her career as a pastry chef and then open her own bakery.

Nyah is the daughter of Marcina Williams and Jarrod Acoff.

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