Nina Leach, who joins Mary Baldwin as a first-year student in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) this fall, has had a remarkable journey of tenacity and grace under pressure, and she’s only 14 years old.
Diagnosed as a child with developmental delays, being nonverbal, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Nina worked day in and day out through intensive physical, speech, and occupational therapy sessions and a specialized school to overcome these challenges, all while staying positive and focused on her future.
When she transitioned to a general education setting, she was considered below grade level, but she pushed herself forward to achieve advanced milestones and academic success.
A native of Brooklyn, Nina ranked in the top 1% of all New York students on every state exam she took. Plus she was named A Better Chance Scholar at the Perkiomen School, a college-preparatory boarding school in Pennsylvania, earning more than $60,000 each year in scholarships for seventh and eighth grade, which she just completed.
Now she’s attending college early at MBU, pursuing her goal of becoming a brain surgeon.
Her mother, Nefertiti Leach, says it eloquently: “It was always in her eyes.” Words that were waiting. Intelligence and kindness to share. Dreams to work toward.
As Nina starts the next stage of her journey at Mary Baldwin, she and her mom reflect on some of the difficulties they’ve navigated and the achievements they’ve celebrated along the way.