All across the state of Louisiana, you can find young people who are enjoying the summer- those ten or so glorious weeks where no books beckon and a teenager can answer the calls of their bed until all hours of the afternoon. In Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, however, you’ll find students still at work, still pursuing excellence.
You see, at TM Landry College Prep, the students only get a five-day break for summer. One week, and then these hard-working students are back in the classrooms. The independent, coeducational year-round school has garnered attention for its students’ impressive academic achievements, including a 100 % graduation rate and a 100% acceptance rate to four-year universities.
Dr. KaNisha Hall, Howard University College of Medicine alumna and executive board member, was recently invited to speak at TM Landry College Prep. Hall is passionate about bridging the gap in education in Louisiana. She has longed to see advancements in the Louisiana education system since her matriculation from Louisiana Tech University for her undergraduate degree.
While visiting, Dr. Hall was astonished to see the shift in the curriculum at TM Landry and the impact it has had on the students. The programs at TM Landry require rigorous work ethic – in and out of the classroom. This college prep school is contributing to the success of young academic superstars and is a perfect fit for those who think outside of the box. TM Landry has proven to help its students accomplish their goals in college and beyond. Dr. KaNisha Hall went to Breaux Bridge to reach and teach students, and while there, she learned just what TM Landry expects.
So while there are children complaining of the heat or their boredom, some of Louisiana’s most advanced students are back at work. Here’s a recap of Dr. KaNisha Hall’s visit to TM Landry College Prep:
In kindergarten we were told to color within the lines. It was like some invisible judges were standing over our shoulders watching every stroke of our crayons and if we happen to veer too far right or too far left this unforgivable act would follow us until high school.
And that’s where it all began.
Our fascination with order, timing, perfection, being the best, and doing the best. The world set the rules and we followed unknowingly into the land of the “majority.” The only thing that remained of our uniqueness was the birthmarks that tagged our faces, feet, butts, backs, and hands and even those were starting to look like the kid next to us.
Somewhere along the way we developed a competitive appetite to score higher, run faster, and excel far beyond those around us. Making an “A” was more important than making friends. Being trendy was more important than being a trendsetter. Fitting in was more important than standing out. We were afraid to embrace our natural style (whatever that was) for fear that our quirkiness would ruin our chance at “cool points” and so we did what we had to do to make waves but just enough to stay within the qualifications of our cookie cutter pedigree.
What am I saying?
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What was once child’s play for Dr. Nwando Okafor became a fast reality. She’s gratefully enjoying the daily actualization of the dream career that she imagined having as a little girl growing up in Enugu, Nigeria. As a child, Dr. Nwando found excitement in playing “doctor” with her dolls by caring for them with items from the First Aid kit that she received as a gift on her 7th birthday. The gift was very important to her. By tradition, Nigerian families instill strong accountabilities and indigenous values in their children. She’s always known that she would become a doctor; there were no other career options available in her opinion.
Life changed dramatically for her at 15 when her family migrated to the United States. After receiving her diploma from Gardena High School, Dr. Nwando Okafor graduated, Cum Laude with a BS in Biology from the University of California, Riverside and she subsequently received her MD from UCLA. She began her medical career working in residency at The University of Chicago Medicine in the ER Department.
Currently, Dr. Okafor is a practicing Emergency Medicine Physician and Chief Medical Officer based in Corpus Christi, Texas. She’s also committed to the philanthropic work of World Health Advocate, a nonprofit organization that she co-founded with her sister, Dr. Adaeze Okafor-Nwosu. The two are dedicated to closing the healthcare gap among countries worldwide. They travel abroad to Nigeria, Haiti and other poverty-stricken countries to administer free healthcare services.
Medical Mission in Isuoffia, Nigeria
Dr. Okafor with mission trip volunteers
Dr. Okafor has a special passion for caring for others. Her mission in life is to “live, learn, give back, and love.” “I am inspired by my family, humble past and I keep my focus through my belief in God.”
In her free time, Dr. Okafor seizes the opportunity to enjoy her family. She lends her life experiences through mentorship and encouragement for other young women and men. Like Dr. Nwando Okafor on Facebook!