Lima dreams of becoming an obstetrician. Though her heart is in Kabul, she knows that she needs to look elsewhere if she wants to help mothers. A scholarship to North Cedar Academy (NCA) opened up new opportunities for her to realise her ambition — and gave her the headstart she needed.
Before she graduated from NCA in 2019, Lima had the chance to participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer, hone her leadership skills, and take university courses while still in high school.
Thanks to the NCA University Pathway Programmes, Lima did not have to do twice the work. Instead, she gained dual credits and attended her associate’s degree courses at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire: Barron County Campus (UWECBC).
The pathway programmes allow qualifying students in grades 11 and 12 the opportunity to earn an Associate of Arts and Science degree (or up to two years of university credit) before they even graduate from NCA. They attend university classes on a university campus, paid for by NCA for the first year of a student’s enrollment within the programme.
The best part? NCA is the only boarding school with a formal partnership with two separate universities, which means students are guaranteed admission to UWEC or the University of Minnesota Duluth. It also offers a pathway to University of Wisconsin – Madison for qualifying students.
“Being a mum is a special thing, and we see mothers lose their lives because of small issues or problems. We don’t have that many female doctors especially in villages, and we lost lots of women because of that,” says Lima, referring to her choice to study in a US boarding school. “I just thought if I can do something, not just for Afghanistan, but for every country — I want to do that.”
What is the secret behind such determination? Why are students who leave this 96-acre campus in Wisconsin prepared to take on the challenges of the real world?
It starts with a welcoming, tight-knit community. The tranquil environment of the campus, which overlooks the Flambeau River, makes it a perfect place to get some studying done. The small city of Ladysmith is a safe place for children and teenagers to thrive and push themselves to do their best — the crime rate here is 75% below the national average.
No “Eagle” is left behind at NCA — every student gets the academic guidance they need to succeed. For Italian-born Azzurra, attending one of the best boarding schools in Wisconsin improved her English language skills a lot. This, she felt, was the crucial first step that helped her make friends and experience the true warmth of Wisconsin’s residents.
“One of the people who I’m most happy to have met is my English teacher,” she says. “At first I couldn’t imagine that we would have gotten along so well that I would spend not only Christmas break, but spring break with her and her family. She is more than a teacher to me and for many other kids at NCA. She had been a mother figure to me while I was so far from my family back in Italy.”
Indeed, teachers at NCA are dedicated to ensuring their students succeed both on campus and beyond. The school offers extensive English as a Second Language (ESL) and English as a Foreign Language (EFL) support to international students that need it.
At NCA, Azzurra managed to graduate with flying colours. During her senior year at the school, she challenged herself in a way that no NCA student has ever done before — she completed nine full credit courses and achieved a 4.0 GPA. “I feel like teachers here are really interested in you learning all the information,” says Azzurra. “They are patient and willing to help you in every step.”
NCA gave Azzurra the opportunity to experiment with her passions outside of the classroom too. For a few months, she was the school’s cheerleading captain. “I wasn’t really sure of what was going to come out of this student-run ECA, but the result was surprisingly good. I invented a nice choreography with the help of my co-captain and friend Pauline, and our performance turned out better than anyone could expect from six teenagers,” she says.
To learn more about North Cedar Academy’s pathway programmes, schedule an interview with the school’s admissions team here.