Chesterfield teen receives $10,000 grant to kick-start home-school academy
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 12/17/2020, 6 p.m. | Updated on 12/30/2020, 9:36 p.m.
Watching her younger brother struggle as he started high school through a home-school program, Nasiyah Isra-Ul went online to try to find resources to help.
The Chesterfield County resident, who sailed through the home-school program herself, discovered that the resources, particularly in history, social studies and science, were not easy to find. And she heard from others in home schooling that they, too, were having the same problem.
Her solution: Create a place where home-schooled students and parents could easily find educational resources, get a personalized curriculum, gain one-on-one counseling and connect with others in home school.
Now 18 and a sophomore at Liberty University studying early childhood education and business, Ms. Isra-Ul dubbed her fledgling online operation Canary Academy Online and adopted the tagline “Where learning takes off.”
Still developing the academy, Ms. Isra-Ul, daughter of Ma’asehyahu and Sharown Isra-Ul, is offering it to home-schoolers to test as she works to have it up and running sometime next year.
Her idea has gained the attention of the National Society of High School Scholars, which awarded her a $10,000 grant to support the development of the academy and its website, canaryacademyonline.org.
Ms. Isra-Ul is one of 10 teenagers from across the country to receive an inaugural Be More Fund grant from NSHSS, a scholarship and support group for young people founded in 2002 by James Lewis and Claes Nobel, a member of the family that created the Nobel Prize.
NSHSS lauded her for coming up with an initiative to assist home schoolers to connect with needed educational resources. Ms. Isra-Ul said the grant will enable her to incorporate the school and assist her work in getting it off the ground.
Other award winners focused on ideas ranging from biofuel production to increasing bee populations, feeding the hungry, linking people to mental health resources and tackling environmental issues.
Ms. Isra-Ul was selected after competing in the NSHSS Be More-a-thon in which she and 39 other students presented their projects, according to Karen Kane, executive director of NSHSS. The winners were chosen based on their presentation of “a creative and viable plan to make the world a better more equitable place.”