9th-12th Grade High School Engagement and Leadership
BFN’s Academic Counselors help students navigate and engage in academics and extracurricular activities, while students continue to develop a personal sense of self through leadership retreats. Students explore potential career paths and engage in leadership, extracurricular and service opportunities while preparing for college.
The first thing you notice when you meet Nia, is her smile. It lights up her face. It’s infectious and you are smiling too. This freshman at Sacred Heart Preparatory School positively exudes enthusiasm.
Nia joined the Building Futures Now program as a fourth grader at East Palo Alto Academy, a Stanford New School. She doesn’t remember exactly how she found out about BFN, but thinks a teacher recommended the program and her mom “signed me up,” she said.
When asked about her first year at Sacred Heart with a rigorous college preparatory course load, Nia acknowledges it’s “definitely a challenge”, but adds, “I’m up for it.” Nia credits BFN in helping her be prepared to take on this challenge. She notes that the writing workshop and math tutor, provided by BFN, were especially helpful. She also credits BFN’s help in her social and emotional development. With a twinkle in her eye, Nia states, “Miss Megan will tell you I was a sassy 4th grader.” She explains BFN helped her understand that behavior which is appropriate with friends isn’t necessarily appropriate with adults.
When asked about her interests, this delightful, poised and articulate young woman tells me that her favorite class at Sacred Heart is Mandarin and that she hopes to be able to attend a Taiwanese Culture Camp for female Sacred Heart students all over the world before she graduates.
Nia’s passion is the water. She has always loved the beach, but at BFN she took swimming lessons through a partnership with Menlo Masters and Menlo Swim & Sport for two years. She explains that the swimming classes taught her proper strokes, proper breathing, and “improved my skills.” Nia absolutely loved it and with that foundation she participated in a water polo program. She notes, “after two weeks I was hooked. The coach [4 time Olympian, Brenda Villa] was so cool—to have someone who has accomplishments teaching us about the sport she loves was amazing.”
Nia hopes to make the water polo team at Sacred Heart. “I’m committed. I really want to do it. I know I need to have good habits of getting my work done right away, because there is practice every day.”
Nia’s sister is about to graduate from college this May. She notes that her parents are so proud of her sister. She adds, “I want them to be proud of me.” Nia has given them plenty of reasons to be proud.