Being prepared to succeed in college as well as having a scholarship to pay for tuition are huge benefits that NCPA scholars and their parents greatly appreciate. Yet families find the program also provides unexpected but equally important benefits that boost the success of the scholars.
“The first positive effect was that she got self-confident after being selected for the program,” explained Afsana Khan, mother of Akangkha Khan, a junior at Omaha North. “This is obviously an honor to be selected.”
Learning in this class was to help us strengthen ourselves, not change, which has helped me not only in mentoring but also in my academics. Times can get really stressful with so many classes in a variety of areas, but my organizing skills improved as I learned how to use my Restorative strength to find ways to not burn out. These strengths also taught me that I am much more people orientated than I thought, leading to me self caring in other ways that don’t always work for others. While people would like to be alone, I love to be surrounded or with at least one person and tell stories or do activities together instead of it only being me.
Akangkha’s father Layket agrees. “The change I have seen in her is that she got very independent going on trips, camps and events. And she developed great leadership skills,”
“With NCPA, it’s allowed me to just get out of my shell and kind of talk to everyone,” says Akangkha. “I think that skill of being able to talk to anyone is going be very useful after college and even during because it’s a real life skill that is crucial. It’s given me the assurance and confidence that makes me, me.”
Her confidence has expanded beyond NCPA, too. Interested in robotics and designing robots since freshman year, she helped start a new chapter of SkillsUSA at her school and served as vice president. The club attends state and national skills contests in specific job demonstrations such as engineering and health. Since then she’s become club president and was recently reelected. Her goal is to recruit more members and make the chapter at Omaha North even more established.
Still, she’s looking ahead even further and is planning to major in chemistry/pre-med. She’s considering a career as a pediatrician specializing in either neurology or psychology for children. She wants to attend medical school and add grad school along with a residency.
“In order to receive the scholarship, it’s pushed me to work harder in school and further raise my personal expectations,” Akangkha explains. “Having NCPA pushes me to look for more scholarships because those high expectations have allowed me to be eligible for a number of scholarships, which has been a positive for the whole family. College is one of those things we can’t really avoid in order to reach success and having that weight being taken off our shoulders is so calming.”
Although she was born in the U.S., her parents came from Bangledesh where all of the Khan’s large family still reside, leaving Akangkha and her parents far from their immediate support. Thankfully, developing a second family is another benefit of the program.
“NCPA provided me that little school family that everyone wants. We get to hang out at events and honestly, I’ve made lifelong friendships with the people I have met through NCPA.”