When I started De La Salle Academy (DLSA), I was an extremely shy student. I had just immigrated to the United States two years prior, and was still in the process of learning English. I never thought that attending an academically gifted private school was within my reach. When I was accepted, I felt as though all the struggles that my parents had made by immigrating to the United States was starting to pay off.
Though I felt very hesitant to make conversation in English, I felt much more at ease at DLSA. I still remember the day that we were at Carson Hall for orientation. I was very nervous, needless to say. However, as soon as I entered, Ms. Lim greeted me by my name. I had only met her during my DLSA interview, and was very surprised that she remembered my name among so many students. That’s what I think makes DLSA different: each student is treated as a unique part of the community.
My experience at De La Salle was extremely different from that of my local elementary school. This was the first time that I was taking the train all the way from Queens to Times Square. I felt as though I had grown up very quickly and, had responsibilities to my community at DLSA. I was part of a community that cared deeply about me. Academically, I struggled a bit, but learned a lot. Intellectually stimulating discussions during Dr. G’s Civil Rights and American Studies classes made me realize my passion for the social sciences.
Some of the most supportive people I had at DLSA were the teachers, who were not only dedicated to ensuring my academic success, but also my personal success. My brothers and sisters from the above grades welcomed us with open arms, and I will never forget their support.
I attended the Academy of American Studies after graduating from DLSA. Now, I am on my way to step foot on the University of Pennsylvania for my undergraduate studies. I will be studying Economics and International Relations at Wharton Business School and the College of Arts and Sciences, respectively. After I made my transition to high school, I realized that the supportive community at DLSA was truly unparalleled. I wished to use the support that I had received at DLSA as an outlet to foster community building. In freshman year, I started my own non-profit named Efforts in Youth Development of Bangladesh (EYDB) to provide educational opportunities to street and orphan children in Bangladesh, engaging hundreds of students from across the United States.
DLSA is important to me because it taught me that the greatest joy I receive in life is by gearing my skills towards helping and mentoring others. DLSA taught me that community is one of the most crucial aspects of what makes us human, and this is a lesson that I will carry with me throughout my life in whatever I do.