The Catholic schools of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany are a premier choice for educating young people, which open minds, hearts and souls. Students attending any one of our 22 schools thrive in a stimulating and rigorous academic environment where faith in God is nourished and solid citizens are formed. Inspired by Christ the Teacher, it is our everlasting mission to provide a transformative learning experience for our students in an evangelizing community.
Thanks to your gifts, a young girl named NiLar will soon graduate with honors from Bishop Maginn High School
Seventeen year old NiLar was born in a refugee camp located in Thailand after her family fled persecution as members of the Karen people in Myanmar, formerly called Burma. When she was nine years old, her family came to the United States. NiLar remembers that it took a week of medical clearance before they were allowed to travel. Her visions and imagining of America came from the movies they watched as a treat in the refugee camp. In those mostly Disney films, everyone wore a princess dress and lived in a castle.
NiLar arrived in the U.S. too late to begin third grade after attending second grade at the camp school. She could not wait to get to the classroom but was told she’d have to wait until the next school year. The next year, she was placed in fourth grade due to her age, so she completely missed third grade. It was during her time in elementary school that she vividly remembers sobbing during a state test they put in front of her due to a language barrier.
NiLar was accustomed to giving 100% in school, however, the difference in language made that very difficult. Other students made fun of her, called her names, and treated her poorly. It seemed some of the teachers had little patience to help.
Fast forward to 9th grade! NiLar and several others from the local refugee community arrived at Bishop Maginn High School as freshmen for their first day of classes. According to Sue Silverstein Gilligan, “NiLar has given 100% to each and every thing she has done during her four years at Bishop Maginn.” Now a senior, she will finish at the top of her class and has been accepted by Russell Sage College in Albany with nearly a full scholarship. NiLar’s goal is to become a nurse and to one day care for children in refugee camps, like the one she and her family came from not long ago.
Ms. Silverstein Gilligan sums it up, “It has been a blessing to have NiLar as part of the Bishop Maginn High School family.”