Go For It: The Power of Pursuing Opportunities

We love seeing students develop the skills and passions that God has given them. Whether this is at New Life Academy or through other opportunities, we are proud of the type of leaders, coworkers, volunteers, teammates, friends, and overall individuals our students are becoming. 

While we will always strive to present our students with opportunities for growth and experiences, we are also actively seeking to equip them with the skills, confidence, and character to pursue the opportunities in front of them. One example is junior Olani A. who just participated in the Minnesota House of Representatives High School Page Program.

The MN House of Representatives High School Page Program is a state funded program run through the capital available by application to high school juniors in the state of Minnesota. This year, only 88 applicants were accepted to the program to spend a week gaining an understanding of the legislative process, state government, public policy, and more.

In talking with Olani, she explained that she wasn’t always interested in the legislative process. The idea was presented to her by our Academic Dean, Mrs. Kalinoff. 

When I received the information about the page program, I immediately thought of Olani. She is self-motivated and always looking for ways to get involved in activities and organizations beyond her normal school experience.  She is not afraid of a challenge and has a drive that will take her places!

Mrs. Kalinoff, Academic Dean

Olani noted that while she wasn’t 100% sold on wanting to participate in the program, she felt it wold be worth applying. It was a unique opportunity, one that she wanted to at least try for.

With her optimistic attitude, a filled-out application, and a last-minute personal essay, Olani left it in the Lord’s hands.

A little while later, a large manilla envelope showed up in the mail with her acceptance to the program! She shared that her mom was so excited for her, but at this point, Olani still didn’t know what her week at the capital would be like. Even still, she saw the value in taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. 

Throughout the week spent in the High School Page Program, Olani learned and experienced so much. She learned about government and got to be on the House floor while bills were discussed and passed. She met judges and district legislators and formed friendships with the seven other Junior pages there that week. She saw the reality and humanity of government, something that is easy to miss from the outside.

In talking about the members of the House of Representatives, Olani shared, “They are so kind and loving. The only thing they want is to represent the 44,000 people they preside over and serve the entire state. They are real people having real conversations. They stay true to their beliefs but are constantly seeking to make things better.”

Olani had nothing but great things to say about her personal experience in program. “I wish everyone could get a chance to do this. I will be the biggest advocate for this program. It is the best opportunity I have ever gotten.”

One of the standout moments of this program is the chance for participants to meet the legislator who represents them on the House floor. Olani was able to have a couple different meetings with Ethan Cha who represents district 47B.

Through these meetings, Olani was able to ask questions and learn directly from his experience while also sharing about her interests. Cha learned of Olani’s passion for journalism and soon offered her a communications internship writing for the City of Woodbury. This opens up even more opportunities and connections that Olani can take as she moves into her senior year at NLA, college applications, and all the future holds.

Seeing God’s faithfulness at work is incredible when we step out into the opportunities He has laid before us. Olani’s experience is a great example of this. 

I am such a big advocate for this. If there is an opportunity you are eligible for, just go for it. Just do it. Got for it and see what happens instead of living in the ‘what if’. The Lord has a plan, so take whatever is presented and see what he can do with it.”

Olani A.