Calling Nagieliss “one of the most gifted writers I have yet had the pleasure to teach,” one of her teachers cited her poetry: “Just go to sleep I keep telling myself / But I can’t / It’s a quiet night but the silence is doing all the talking.” Finding her voice, by studying both vocal music and art, has been one of the themes of Nagieliss’s time at her high school for arts, where she has earned a GPA of 96 on a transcript that shows many Advanced Placement classes. Her explorations have included internships, journalism projects and being the assistant director of plays. “When I was born,” Nagieliss wrote in her essay, “silence sat amongst the room, the doctors waited for my cries, they waited for a sound. Until the doctor patted me against the back and my voice echoed for the first time. The silence lifted and tears of joy filled the room. Sometimes you need a pat on the back or a push in order to have your voice be heard.” One of the things she wants in college is an experience “pushing me out of my comfort zone.” “My story is starting out slow,” she wrote in her essay. “I haven’t lived yet. But I’m just getting started.”

“The teacher who made the greatest difference in my life,” Nagieliss wrote, “is my English teacher, Ian Scheffler. In sophomore and junior year, “He taught me that writing isn't just about essays and fixing grammatical errors – writing is a way to take control of the voice that you lost.” 

Many thanks to Anthony Ramos Martinez for sponsoring Nagieliss through her college journey.