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Student Spotlight: Meet NFA Senior Kisbell
Meet Newburgh Free Academy Main scholar, Kisbell. Kisbell arrived at Newburgh Free Academy Main Campus almost four years ago at 14 years old. She didn’t expect to stay in Newburgh, but as more time went on, she insisted on going to school. In her home country of Venezuela, she loved school and was very focused on her studies. At first, she struggled at NFA because it was so different. Learning a new language was a challenge, but even the way math was taught was so much different than she was used to. Kisbell still had the desire to do well though. She shared that her mother always insisted on Kisbell earning good grades. For Kisbell, a new country and a new language did not change that value. Those challenges just made her work harder.
When Kisbell arrived to NFA, she did not know English. In high school, all students are expected to take the English Language Arts Regents, regardless of their native language. Kisbell took the English Regents and passed with a grade that would allow her to graduate, but she was not satisfied. Since then, she has taken the test two additional times to earn a grade that she is proud of. She is on her way to earn an Advanced Regents diploma, the highest high school degree that is offered in New York State, when she walks across Academy Field. In addition, she hopes to earn the NYS Seal of Biliteracy as well.
Since September, Kisbell has been involved in the Puerto Rican/Latinx Youth Leadership Institute (PR/LYLI) where she visits Vassar College once a month for leadership workshops. Kisbell is one of five scholars chosen from Newburgh Free Academy to participate in the PR/LYLI Institute in Albany this March. Kisbell has also been involved in NFA JROTC for three years and works at a part-time job 20 hours each week.
Kisbell credits her success to the support of her family, her assistant principal, Ms. Margaret Chesser, and several teachers. She was constantly asking her teachers for help. She made sure they knew that she didn’t just want to pass, but she genuinely wanted to know the content. Once her teachers saw her dedication, they mirrored her commitment. She specifically appreciates the extra help of Ms. Alaimo, Ms. Padilla, and Ms. Sileno.
Kisbell hopes to join the Army and attend college in the near future. Her ultimate goal is to major in law and minor in astronomy. She likes to advocate for others, which is why she wants to be a lawyer. “One person can do a lot. I know I can do a lot in the future,” says Kisbell. With Kisbell’s work ethic and dedication, there is no doubt she will accomplish her goals.
ATTENTION: Are your scholars or colleagues doing something great? Please contact the district Communications Strategist, Cassie Sklarz (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’d love to visit your class or event and/or post your pictures and recap to highlight the amazing accomplishments throughout our district!