Nyamal Pal was able to attend New York University with a full, four-year scholarship. Discover how New Hope Academy helped shape her journey.
By the time Nyamal Pal began third grade as a new student at New Hope Academy in 2006, her family already had journeyed more miles than most people will travel in their lifetime.
Nearly a decade earlier, her Sudanese parents had fled their native, war-torn country for Lebanon. Here, Nyamal was born and spent the first three years of her life in a refugee camp. She remembers often playing with sticks in the dirt. She was astounded the Christmas she received a shoebox filled with toothpaste, a toothbrush, hair clips and a Barbie from Operation Christmas Child. “It was a brand new toy that no one had ever played with,” she says of the doll. That was something that never happened.
Nyamal’s family eventually relocated again, this time to Nashville as part of World Vision’s outreach to war refugees. She began attending a public elementary school and immediately realized everything about her was different—her accent, her skin color, her history. “People just weren’t as accepting, and I thought, Well, that is just how life is going to be here.”
Learning About New Hope Academy
Then her family learned about NHA. “From the first day I came to New Hope Academy, everyone was so welcoming,” Nyamal says. “I would go home and cry. They were not tears of sadness, but tears of relief and happiness. The kids were so kind, and no adults were forcing them to be that way.
“The teachers genuinely cared for me,” she continues. “If I was struggling, they were so eager to help. They did it in a way that wasn’t embarrassing. It was just amazing.”
Nyamal was also surprised when the holidays arrived and her class began packing shoeboxes to send to children overseas as Christmas gifts. “My face lit up and I told my teacher, Mrs. Peabody, that I’d once received a box from Operation Christmas Child. The experience came full circle.”
A Community of Love and Support
Belonging to a community that supported her family, celebrated diversity and cultivated a love for learning altered Nyamal’s trajectory. “New Hope Academy both spiritually and academically equipped me,” says Nyamal. “Praying every day and attending devotions made me spiritually sound. And the rigorous academics gave me a great backbone for the future.”
Nyamal from Centennial High School in Franklin, Tennessee. She was awarded a full, four-year scholarship to attend New York University (NYU), a school that has a global feel within a thriving city, she says. She was one of only three students in NYU’s incoming freshmen class to receive the prestigious AnBryce scholarship, given each year to a small number of academically-motivated students who demonstrate financial need and who are the first generation in their family to attend college.
She plans to study medicine. Her interest in science began in fifth grade when NHA students participate in numerous animal dissections throughout the school year. (NHA’s upper school curriculum has become renowned for its strong science emphasis, and Nyamal follows a growing number of NHA alumni whose career choices can be traced back to a love for science cultivated in fifth grade.)
“I love helping people and extending compassion to others,” Nyamal says. “I have many goals I want to achieve, and I think NYU will be a great place for me to do that. I also believe the foundation I received at New Hope Academy is helping make this possible.”