Alumni Spotlight: Shayla Toran

Shayla Toran is a 2018 graduate of Eagle Academy.

Shayla Toran is a 2018 graduate of Eagle Academy.

Shayla Toran is a native of Washington, DC. She was Born June 19, 2009 to Shanelli Toran and Anthony Manning. Shaylas educational journey began at The Rehobeth Baptist Church Day Care Center and The Kids R Us Center, both in Washington, DC. Shayla was enrolled into Eagle Academy at the Pre-K 3 level.  Shayla recalls that all of her teachers from Ms. Johnson, Ms. Wilson, Ms. Lee, and Mr. Hagler, were her favorite. Shayla graduated from Eagle Academy in 2018 and now attends Center City Public Charter School at Congress Heights in Washington, DC.

SHAYLA is very inquisitive person. SHAYLA has always had an interest in the arts - specifically dance. She did liturgical dance in church and pursued modern, ballet, tap in her community and at the Before and After Care Program at Eagle Academy. Currently, her favorite contribution to My Fathers House International Church is liturgical dance. Shayla says that she simply enjoys having a good time. A good time to Shayla is being with her family, hanging with her cousins, laughing and playing.

One of the things she liked best about attending Eagle Academy was the Before and After Care Program. She said that even thought all of her teachers taught her new things, it was Ms. Jordan who stands out in her experience.  Ms. Jordan is the professional dance teacher at the Eagle Academy Before and After Care Program. SHAYLA learned the basics of dance and even a little gymnastics. 

SHAYLA’S favorite subjects were the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and MATH classes. Her STEM and Math teachers were Ms. Brown and Mr. Hagler. In STEM she enjoyed learning how to do experiments with underwater robotics most of all. She actually made one underwater robot and one other robot. However, it was the underwater robot that held most of her attention. This robot had the ability to navigate underwater and through obstacles by cutting tools, drilling holes, and adding tubes. SHAYLA decorated the robot with tape but without covering any of the holes.  The robot was able to move by a remote built by her teachers. The remote was being built while the robots were being created simultaneously. SHAYLA was able to test her robot in Eagle’s one-of-a-kind learning pool built and installed especially for early learners at Eagle Academy. Ms. Brown realized SHAYLA’s talent in the STEM class and nominated Shayla to participate in the National Pathway Envision Overnight camp at the 4H Conference Club in Bethesda, Maryland.  SHAYLA absolutely loved this experience. She met new people from Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and the District. Children from all over came together to share their experiments, learn new ones and share them with one another. 

One experiment SHAYLA distinctly remembers is finding chemical reactions between baby powder, baking soda, cream of tarter, and corn starch. The baking soda fizzed. The baby powder remained solid. The cream of tarter became “liquidy,”and the corn starch did not change. SHAYLA performed another experiment where she was able to detect finger prints by using coco powder. The third experiment that made an impact on SHAYLA occurred when a visiting scientist showed the group how a person could stay on fire without burning using foam, rubbing it on a pan, setting it on fire and then watching the fire go out. The last experiment involved blood splatter. They pretended to create blood using water and red dye. They put the solution in droplets and allowed it to splatter onto a wall to see where the droplets would fall. They also put it on a paper towel, let it drop and spread. They were actually building upon finding a solution to a crime “like CIS” she says “like in forensic.” They analyzed the evidence. Parents were the jury and student participants had to show the jury how and why they came up with their hypothesis and solution. The science teacher, Ms. Williams, an assistant with the experiments, was a Judge. Two parents were chosen to become lawyers. Although kids only participated in the camp, parents came the next day. SHAYLA’s mom said it reminded her of how she would drop a kid off to college. “You give them the necessities and they do the rest.” In conclusion, SHAYLA says it was a great social experience. Learning how to how find fingerprints and discover things helped her decide that she wanted to become a police officer, but not just a regular police officer. SHAYLA wants to be the kind of police officer who solves underwater crimes. SHAYLA says,  “If any police work has something to do with underwater crimes I think I can handle it.” 

When asked how she felt when it was time to graduate from Eagle Academy SHAYLA said that she cried. She did not want to leave because Eagle Academy was like her home. Shayla said that she got to tell concerned adults about what she was feeling; and when she had problems she could always depend on them to help her get through. 

SHAYLA is now a straight A student at Center City Public Charter School. She believes it has a lot to do with how Eagle Academy prepared her for elementary school. SHAYLA said that when she first walked in the door of Center City PCS she had confidence saying to herself  “I can do this! Eagle Academy taught me everything I need to know!”

SHAYLA participated in the first pilot of the Alumnae Program’s Etiquette and Leadership program during the summer of 2018. When asked what she liked most about the pilot Etiquette and Leadership program held at the Woodmore Country Club in Bowie, Maryland, she replied “the food and Mr. Pinkey.” Mr. Pinkney is the husband of the late Mrs. Cassandra Pinkney, Founder and Executive Director of Eagle Academy who initiated the concepts for both the Alumnae and Etiquette & Leadership Programs. SHAYLA attended the summer workshops that prepared students for a formal four course meal at the beautiful country club and golf course. It was a wonderful experience of exposure for underserved children. So when her grandmother asked her to attend a formal Tea with her, SHAYLA was ready. She said that she was able to use the skills she learned in the Etiquette & Leadership workshops. While attending the Tea she said that she thought about Ms. Williams and Ms. Salter reminding her to, “sit up and scoop this way while eating your soup and remember where the butter, milk, bread, spoon and knives and forks go on the table.”  SHAYLA was confident and prepared. 

SHAYLA continues to do well. Her drama teacher at Center City asked if she wanted to participate in a program that records the news for the school and confident Shayla said yes.  Shayla can now be seen on Youtube learning how to produce news at

When Shayla was six years old she participated in a pageant called Young and Natural Hair Pageant. She has been extended another invitation to participate in that same pageant as a nine year old. This is a great pageant that grows with the child.

We, at Eagle Academy, are so proud to spotlight little miss Shayla Toran. We will keep a close eye on her progress and of course, her future success. 

John Campbell