Jamaica, QUEENS—Strength and confidence come to mind, when you’re in the presence of Mala Panday.
A strong mama bear, who doesn’t use fear, to lift her young cubs up.
She was born in Guyana and came to the U.S. at age two.
She says ambition and the slogan that education is power is what drove her to be empowered.
And empowerment is the ultimate goal at the Young Women’s Leadership School in Queens.
From the first time young girls step through the doors to start sixth grade, they’re taught to prepare for college.
100 percent of the kids who apply to college at TYWLS get into college, usually with financial aid packages.
"My principal was actually there when I got my acceptance. I think that’s my most memorable moment from TYWLS," one student said.
A guiding light and a powerful role model, Principal Panday encourages her students to be both fierce and compassionate.
"Ms. Panday, she comes into your classroom, asks you questions and things like that. I've never met a teacher like that," one student added.
Even the teachers are inspired by her to be the best they can be.
"I definitely want to make sure that these women are receiving a powerful male role model to show them what a man should be. Especially math can be seen as a boys club sometimes," one teacher explained.
"This is basically the Ellis Island in the public school system. I don’t know where you would go for more opportunities. I mean you have everything that you would need to make sure you can compete at the college level all under one roof. Can’t you feel it? This is just an empowering place. I couldn't ask for anything else," Ms. Panday added.
And she doesn’t plan to.
Once a teacher always a teacher, right?