Humans of Valencia: Ayla Polanco

Humans of Valencia: Ayla Polanco

Nigisti HiSmith and Nigisti HiSmith

Ayla and dog Zeus

“I was born in The Bronx and I grew up in Yonkers. (The Arts) is something that’s been apart of my entire life. For visual arts, I can remember the exact craft that got me started on it. My mom-she taught me how to take things that were 2-dimensional and make them 3-dimensional. I grew up in what I call a shoe box apartment. We couldn’t make a lot of noise so we would take construction paper, put them on the ground and cut out little strips of paper. Then, fold them and make little beds and tape them all together. Those were like my toys when I was little.”


“I started performing publicly singing and dancing at age 5. It’s apart of me, it’s just what I do. I cant imagine myself without it or without doing the things I do. My parents raised me to be a jack of all trades, master of none. They said it was better to do that then to just focus on one thing. But, the irony though, is when I got to college my parents wanted me to do anything but art. I tried listening to my parents my first year of college and I was kinda-sorta miserable. So, I just decided one day, I’m doing what I want to do. It’s difficult some days but if you want it that bad you are going to do it.”

The Tree of Hope sits in the atrium of Osceola Campus. It took two weeks for Ayla to complete. It is currently decorated specifically to honor Black History Month in green (the land), black (the people), red (the blood shed) and gold (the resources). Her boss and role model, Nelson Sepulveda the Assistant Director of Student Development on Osceola Campus was the brains behind the project. She says, “he’s the balance between get it done and I care about you as a person. He teaches us to follow the rules but never be afraid of taking risks at the same time. He’s one of those people that I definitely want to grow up to be more like.”

Ayla Polanco: @tweetieabpm

Osceola Campus Activities Board, Student Leader

Double Major:

Primary – Opera and Musical Theatre

Secondary – Event Planning

Whats next: April 19-21 @ 7:30pm; Saturday Matinee @ 2pm in the Blackbox on East Campus