Uplift scholars were featured in the Dallas Morning News on January 10th, sharing their views on the charter school experience. Several scholars wrote letters expressing how attending an Uplift Education school has impacted their lives. The article helped inform Texas legislators as they enter the 87th legislative session on charter schools’ importance. Gayle Nindo, a 5th grader at Uplift Grand Preparatory in Grand Prairie, was one of those scholars. Read her letter and letters from other Uplift scholars and alumni about their charter school experience.
Education has always been very important to Gayle Nindo and her family. It’s something that, from a very early age, her parents always reminded her of and the value it holds.
Gayle was happy to have her letter featured in one of the largest newspapers in the country but even happier, knowing that readers would be able to see how Uplift helps their scholars.
“At first, it seemed like it was a joke,” said Emmah Osale, Gayle’s mother, when she first found out her daughter would be writing a letter for the Dallas Morning News. “I know she works hard, but I didn’t think she would get to this point so young. I was very excited, and I have never been prouder.”
Before writing her letter, Gayle sat down and begun brainstorming. She went back and reminisced about her past experiences, how she has felt being a scholar at Uplift, her interactions with her teachers and friends, and once she had it broken down into sections, the letter began to take shape.
Gayle’s mother had heard so much about Uplift schools and decided to apply. She was living in Irving at the time and applied to both Uplift North Hills and Uplift Infinity, but she didn’t get selected and was placed on the waitlist.
As a result of this, Gayle started first grade at a different school. About halfway through the school year, they were informed of an opening at Uplift Grand.
“I didn’t even think twice about it,” Emmah said. “I had heard about how many of their scholars end up going to college, and I registered her that exact day, and I think it has been the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Transitioning to a new school is never easy, but Gayle is thankful for the support system in place at Uplift Grand.
“When I came to Uplift in first grade, I was really shy and nervous. I had no friends,” Gayle said. “My teachers were much more understanding. They held me accountable but would also help me and encourage me to take a deep breath and provide assistance to me as needed.”
When Gayle’s family moved about half an hour away, and her future at Uplift Grand became uncertain.
“People would tell me about how great a school district I had moved to and how I didn’t need to make the drive back and forth to Grand Prairie every day,” Emmah said. “There is a school that’s about a 5-minute walk from where we live. But then I thought about it, and I realized that there’s nothing I can give her in this life, better than an education.”
Gayle wasn’t bothered by the distance or the commute to school, but she was mindful of the sacrifice her mother was making on her behalf every day.
“It didn’t really affect me. If anything, I would say it affected my mom the most,” Gayle said. “She had a baby at the time, and the baby was always crying. It’s about a 30-minute ride, so she was crying for almost an hour.”
Gayle has always been selfless and credits that mindset for wanting to become a doctor.
“I want to do something for people. Something that doesn’t just help me, but helps others,” Gayle said. “The best thing I can think about that is in that category is becoming a doctor, specifically a pediatrician.”
Gayle’s biggest advice for scholars from other school districts unsure about coming to Uplift is just to come.
“Come here and see how it is,” Gayle said. “They have great teachers, great scholars. They have everything you need here.”
Gayle’s mother echoes her sentiments and urges other parents and families to join the Uplift community.
“As parents, we give our children lots of stuff like clothes and toys, but the best thing that we can give them that they’ll always use is an amazing education,” Emmah said. “If you want the best education, this is the place to be. I have seen so much growth, and the teachers are always there any time of the day.”
Emmah believes that the feeling of support and belonging empowers children to be better scholars.
“It encourages you as a parent, and it encourages scholars. They’re happy, and when they’re happy, they work harder, and they get smarter,” Emmah said.