Soon-to-be-Graduate Hopes to Mentor Others at Camelot One Day

 In Camelot Blog

Nalila Ramos says that without Camelot she would not be preparing to graduate next month or looking forward to college, but she is looking ahead to much more than that. She wants to earn her degree and come back to Camelot to help students like her.

The upbeat and focused senior remembers back to 8th grade when she was referred by the School District of Lancaster to Camelot’s Buehrle Academy, a transitional program that provides students instruction which supports academic remediation and helps get them back on track for grade promotion and graduation.

“Buehrle taught me so much like not everything needs a reaction,” Nalila said.

Nalila says Camelot’s smaller size and attention to each student’s personal situation made it a better fit for her than the much larger mainstream school. Now as a senior, Nalila attends Camelot’s Phoenix Academy, a recognized magnet school of choice that advances the education and graduation of over-age or under-credited students.

“Her biggest strength is her willingness to do the right thing even if people around her don’t agree with it,” said Phoenix Academy’s executive director, Megan Misnik. “She’s very independent and has tremendous leadership skills and overall potential. Kids often want to follow the group. That’s not her.”

Nalila credits staff, first at Buehrle and now at Phoenix, for her success.

“I can come into school with any issues and feel comfortable enough to tell them what’s going on and about personal stuff,” she says. “I look at the staff like they’re family. They won’t judge me if I tell them anything. They won’t look at me any type of way. They put in the effort to create bonds with me. My mentor from Buehrle still checks on me, even at Phoenix. For me, it’s a stronger learning environment. They pushed me to do better.”

For a 17-year-old, Nalila is a little ahead of the game, already having her career plan set out.

“I would love to work at Phoenix or Buehrle in the future. I’m going to get my bachelor’s degree so I can come back and work here.”

She plans on attending Lincoln University this fall, a historically black university (HBCU) in Oxford, Pennsylvania, and then hopes to work at Camelot as a behavior specialist, because she says those are the staff members who helped her make the greatest changes in her life.

“I don’t come from the best background,” Nalila, the middle child of five in the family, says. “My family struggled a lot. That’s why school is a big motivation for me. My biggest goal right now is to make my mom happy – for her to be able to see me walk across the stage.”

And walk the stage she will, at 17, a year early.

“Camelot is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

Watch a short video of Nalila’s story here.

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