As eleven-year-old Asha Lawrence first stepped through the front doors of Our Lady Queen of Angels School (OLQA), she was struck by all of the unfamiliar faces. Having recently moved to New York City from a nomadic upbringing in England, Asha was familiar with being the new kid. Now in a new country, with her family setting down roots in Harlem, Asha wondered if OLQA would be a good fit.
Despite OLQA being her first Catholic school, Asha held a religious background. Her father, having been a dedicated community worker for many years back in England, had recently become an official pastor with the revitalization of a small church in Harlem as his first assignment.
Going to school in the same neighborhood where her father was working tirelessly, Asha’s nerves were quickly quelled. Asha’s fellow classmates were fascinated by her British accent, her upbringing in England, and so happily welcomed her into the OLQA community.
“We’re so supportive of each other,” Asha says. “We work together, we grow together. It’s really special.”
During her time at OLQA, Asha learned to love her classes through her teachers’ enthusiasm for the subjects they loved. Their passion inspired Asha not just in her academics, but in her extracurricular activities as well, where Asha developed an interest in a plethora of hobbies, including reading, acting, and sports.
A greater lesson Asha gained, however, was how she could apply what she learned in the classroom to the bigger world.
“Me, and all kids my age, we’re the next generation,” Asha says. “My opinion, and the way I voice my opinion, it really does matter, and it can affect people.” On reflection, Asha realized that she has the power to have an impact in the larger world – and this remains an essential element of her education at OLQA.
Now, as a recent graduate and valedictorian for the class of 2017, Asha is excited for the future. In the fall, Asha will attend Brooklyn Tech, one of the most prestigious specialized high schools in the nation.
“I’m so excited,” Asha says. But, despite her anticipation, she admits she’ll miss her classmates and teachers. “You don’t realize how close you are with your class and how close you are to your teachers until you have to say goodbye.”
Hopefully, Asha will continue to keep in touch with her classmates and teachers. We welcome all alums to visit and look forward to staying connected wherever their travels take them.