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Aniya annihilates the national anthem (but like in a good way)

By: Parker Watson

The National Anthem is an important part of any public gathering in North Carolina, but it is especially so for the delegates here at the 2020 NC YMCA Youth and Government Conference because of Aniya Simmons.

Aniya Simmons is a senior from the Seagull/Seafarer delegation and attends Pamlico County High School. She has participated in NC Y&G for three years and, for the past two years, has played a special part in the proceedings by singing the National Anthem. Simmons enjoys singing for any crowd, but it is especially meaningful to her when she can share her talents with her peers in NC Y&G. “I do enjoy getting up and singing for NC Y&G, only because singing is my passion, so it doesn’t bother me when someone asks me to go to an event and sing,” said Aniya.

Simmons' first time singing for NC Y&G came in 2019 when she was a junior. She performed the National Anthem for the entire NC Y&G program. Simmons felt honored and pleased to return this year and sing for her peers in addition to her other duties as a senator in the legislative branch. “This is my second year singing for NC Y&G. It does feel nice to come and sing in front of everybody,” said Simmons.

Furthermore, Simmons has ample experience singing elsewhere, making her the go-to performer at her high school. “I have been singing for basically all my childhood. I’ve sung in church, I’ve traveled and sung in different places, and I’ve sung for just a few celebrities,” said Simmons with a laugh.

Simmons’ long career of singing has given her an appreciation for the opportunities that it opens for her, and the enjoyment that it brings her listeners. Singing gives her one more way to contribute to the program that every NC Y&G delegate makes possible through their contributions this weekend.

However, doing anything in front of the crowd of over a thousand people is no easy task, and Simmons has to deal with the stress of performing a very well-known song to the expectant crowd. “It is nerve-racking. My biggest crowd was over 1200 people, but it doesn’t matter. Whenever I get up on that stage, my nerves will still get the best of me sometimes,” said Simmons.

Nervousness is something that almost everyone at NC Y&G has to deal with. However, Simmons has tricks to soothe her nerves. “I saw some familiar faces, so when I looked out in the crowd when I was singing I focused on them to get my nerves down a little bit,” said Simmons.

The National Anthem means something different for everyone. For Simmons, the National Anthem is a way for her to do something special for her peers here at the 2020 NC Y&G conference.