Reflections on La Salle 


Nya Griffin, Staff

I am Nya Griffin and I am a member of the class of 2023. I studied full time in La Salle’s communication program. After joining the education department during my freshman year, I began to find another passion leading me towards interpersonal communication. This is the story of my life, obstacles I overcame and the path that La Salle University offered me to catapult me into the next chapter of my life.

I am a Philadelphia native, the second oldest child of five siblings. I am also a fraternal twin. Unfortunately, my father became incarcerated shortly after birth and my mother was found unfit to raise me and my twin sister, which later led to in-family adoption. My twin sister, and I were taken in by our then 77-year-old great-grandmother, named Emily Darby. Shortly after, my great aunt, Esther Darby came to Philadelphia from Atlanta, Georgia. Later after moving in temporarily, I began helping alongside in the raising process of my sister and me. Now, I had gained two mother figures who were there for the long haul. In spite of financial barriers, I learned to love learning from her great-aunt who would do art projects, formulate summer learning packets, visit the free library and go to museums for educational growth. Darby never allowed me or my twin sister to feel like we were held back due to circumstances but instilled in them the principles to see beyond what they could be. I went to Thomas Holmes Elementary, later transitioned to John B. Kelly for a short time and then moved to Holmesburg Christian Academy, which was a pivotal moment in my educational journey. I later attended Samuel Fels High School and graduated from Martin Luther King Jr. High School. In between my time at Fels High School and King High School, I attended Abraham Lincoln High school, where I met La Salle ADP former recruiter, Chappelle Washington through my counselor, Dawn Seeger.

I heard of the opportunities that La Salle had to offer at the time but wasn’t sure about my options and desired awareness. About a year later, I contacted Washington and wanted to hear more about the program’s offer. I later applied to La Salle University and was accepted. Coming into one of the most valued programs at  La Salle, the Academic Discovery Program (ADP) was a game changer in my journey. I started in Summer 2019 and began to build my roots to soar. During the rigorous summer experience used to challenge incoming scholars of the ADP program, it caused me to be grounded in college readiness and prepare for the Lasallian values that I would learn to be accustomed with. Starting off Freshman year, I declared to be an education major and double majoring in English. I lost my desire for English but not for learning and looked deeper into my passion and received additional help from former Academic Success Coach, Karen McFadden. McFadden encouraged me by saying, “check out all of the majors that we offer and see what best fits you.” I later decided to switch my major to Communications and added a minor in Human Services.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

Being a student at La Salle has taught me perseverance, that even when the going gets tough it’s best to lean in on the community around you. Having faculty that supports you from the provost office, ADP program, Communications Dept., Graduate Education Dept., AASL, SGA, and so many more had a huge mark on why I am still thriving. I faced many obstacles in my life. A few semesters ago, My great aunt was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Around late October 2022, my aunt’s cancer progressed, and she transitioned. For me, this curveball in life struck hard. At times, I felt demotivated, unsure of graduating, and hopeless. If it wasn’t for the ADP faculty, my friends, and close family in my ear continuing to push and support me I don’t know if I would have made it this far. I want to express that there were many times when I felt like giving up but kept my aunt’s memory and conversation of me finishing strong in the forefront.

Though life’s adversities tried to knock me down, it has been my resilience that has held me together. It wasn’t easy, but I’m doing it and when I heard from my other ADP fellows, I understood that I wasn’t in this alone, we are all dealing with something.  Hearing those experiences caused me to gain my momentum to finish the race and finish it strong. I will be pursuing my masters at American University to gain a degree in teaching. The impact that people have made on me as a student has propelled me to want to pay it forward to students just like me. I am ready to turn that tassel as a La Salle undergraduate alum and walk across that stage holding power in my hands and the dignity and memory of what my great aunt told me. I have triumphed and conquered many tough seasons. Though I know there will be many more ahead, I will be ready. I offer my thank you to the entire La Salle community for thoughts, uplifting words and prayers expressed on my behalf during my time of bereavement. I will always remember the support and presence felt by the La Salle community for many years to come. I encourage other scholars to persevere through any obstacle because I say, “You can do it”.

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