Some might say that Maya Lee’s arrival at OLMA as a sophomore this year was pure fate. While she wasn’t completely happy at her old school she didn’t have any immediate plans to make a move.
That all changed last year in the most unexpected of places. “I was running late to a field hockey scrimmage between my school and OLMA,” said Maya. “When I arrived, my coach told me that OLMA was short one player so I volunteered to join them so we could still play the game. I was a little nervous at first, but the girls treated me like I was part of their team and we had a great time.” That’s when the wheels started turning.
“I liked where I was, but wasn’t challenged at all academically,” said Maya. “Then I found out more about OLMA from my club team, Five Star Field Hockey, and liked what I heard. I decided to check it out and shadowed for a day. That’s all it took. When I got home I told my mom that I had to come here.”
Mom made it happen and the rest is history. Maya says that she loves all of her classes so far and is definitely challenged, especially in Chemistry. “I’m also taking an online course for the first time,” she said. “It takes some getting used to, but it’s going well so far.” She is also making her mark as part of the Field Hockey Team. “Our team is new, but the girls are really good,” she said. “We’re surprising people and that’s fun. We have a great coach and play hard every day.”
Looking ahead to this year, Maya is excited to participate in Sisterhood Day and other OLMA traditions. She’s also anxiously awaiting word on this year’s Mini-Mester choices. For now, she’s focused on her studies and on finishing the Field Hockey season strong. We are so glad you’re here, Maya!
This young woman is one to watch. While junior, Isabella Burhanna presents as shy, she’s really not. Rather, she is quietly processing everything that’s happening around her — and loving every minute of her time at OLMA. A home school student until Grade 8, Isabella adjusted much more quickly than she expected. “Coming to OLMA was one of those things that my parents said would be good for me,” said Isabella. “As kids we hear that a lot, but they were right. I met my two best friends at the Big-Little Sleepover and things have only gotten better. I can’t believe that I’m already in my junior year.”
Isabella says she’s most excited about her AP Chemistry class this year. “I absolutely love Math and Science,” she said. “I’m a little nervous about it, but know it will build my confidence in this area and help prepare me for college.”
While college is still two years away, Isabella is wasting no time getting ready. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. In fact, she spent an entire month this summer (seven hours a day, five days a week) in MEDacademy, run by Cooper Medical School at Rowan University. “It was an awesome experience,” said Isabella. “We worked in groups and were assigned to a second-year medical student who gave us an honest look at what life is like in the field of medicine. We participated in lectures, tackled case studies, worked as part of active learning groups and were exposed to all sorts of specialty fields.”
Isabella competed for her spot at MEDacademy and was among some of the best of the best of high school students from all across New Jersey. The biggest take-away for me was learning the importance of supporting and respecting each other, as well as our patients. Medicine is a very competitive field, but my facilitator constantly reminded us that in life, not just in medicine, we have to meet people halfway. That’s an important lesson that will stick with me.”
That lesson already serves Isabella well on the soccer field where she plays on the varsity team for OLMA. She is an asset to the team and says that she’s having a great time so far this season.
A little-known fact about Isabella is that she loves cats. “My friends will attest to the fact that I love them so much, really all animals, but especially cats,” she said. “I have no problem at all being referred to as the crazy cat lady!” Good to know! Great job, this summer, Isabella. We can’t wait to see what you do next.
Tuesday, September 3, 2019: What an amazing day it was for OLMA Athletics! Volleyball gets Coach Patterson her 1st career win. Field Hockey wins very 1st varsity game for OLMA/Coach Morrell. Coach Krogman leads tennis to 4-1 victory. Soccer battles for Coach Burhanna in 1-0 loss to state finalist. XC has 2 top 100 NJ runners! Not bad for day 1!