Student Showered With Compliments After She Courageously Admits to Low Self-Esteem

Janiyah, 13, now wants to help other girls.

ByABC News
January 30, 2017, 3:36 PM

— -- A viral video out of a Baltimore city classroom is reminding us just how important it is for young girls to hear compliments about themselves.

Eighth grade student Janiyah courageously told her classmates last week how she often felt she wasn't pretty because of her dark skin. Janiyah asked ABC News not to print her last name.

"I was always the black ugly girl," the 13-year-old told other students at Southwest Baltimore Charter School. "Just because I'm dark skinned I'm not pretty? I'm not. I always thought I wasn't."

Immediately, other students in the classroom began telling Janiyah that "she is pretty!"

That's when teacher Valencia Clay jumped in and told the students to give the student "10 seconds of compliments." And they poured in, causing Janiyah to cry with joy.

Even Clay chimed in, saying, "I love your voice. I love your brilliance. I love your creativity. I love when you sing. I love how caring you are."

Clay posted the heartwarming video on her personal Instagram account, where it was later shared on Facebook. More than 119,000 Facebook users have watched the video.

Clay, who has been teaching for nine years and even started a non-profit organization called The Flourishing Blossoms to mentor girls, told ABC News that the conversation stemmed from the students' morning meeting where they talk about life skills.

Now the students had been tasked with giving and receiving compliments after many students revealed how hard it was to do.

After Janiyah courageously revealed her insecurity, it was an "aha moment" for the class, Clay noted.

"Like, [giving compliments] really does work and we have to uplift each other," she continued. "It was powerful."

Clay said Janiyah has been pleased with all the positive comments on social media about the video.

"She said, 'Those comments were everything, Ms. Clay,'" Clay recalled. "I’m so grateful for everybody that took a moment out of the day to comment."

According to Clay, now Janiyah wants to "do something other girls who used to feel like her."