Knott Scholars through the Generations

Sep 18, 2022

A mother-daughter relationship is a special bond. Current student, Sadira Mirjafary, Maryvale, and her mother, Nasrene Mirjafary, College of Notre Dame of Maryland and 2000 Scholarship Collegiate Awardee, are both Knott Scholars! We wanted to highlight Knott Scholars through the Generations to give you more insight into what schools they each chose and why, the impact a Catholic education has made on them, and more. Check out our interview with Sadira and Nasrene below!

Q: Why did you choose the institution you attended/will attend?

Sadira: “I was really starting from scratch with my high school search because the Institute of Notre Dame (IND) had been my first choice school for years, as I would’ve been a fourth generation student there. When IND closed I had to spend my 7th grade year learning more about the other Catholic schools in the area. I toured and shadowed at multiple schools, but what really tipped me toward Maryvale was my scholarship interview. My interview was with Dr. Shin, the Head of the Upper School, and instead of asking the typical interview questions, he asked me about my day, my friends, my hobbies, and anything else that interested me. He really got to know me as a person and a potential student, explained all the different programs that Maryvale offers, and all of the clubs that I could join. I think he set a great example that day of what Maryvale would be like, a school that would provide me with a personalized education with my goals as my focus, and that’s why I decided to go.”

Nasrene: “I had accepted admission to the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, now Notre Dame of Maryland University, where I had been awarded a Presidential academic scholarship when I learned I was eligible for the Knott Scholarship. I was an incoming college freshman in 1999, just as prices for higher education became more and more unattainable for families. I always knew that I would need to find a way to fund my own college education, and the college I chose had offered me the most scholarship money. Now, looking back, I realize what a true blessing it was to be able to graduate college with no undergraduate debt.”

Q: What are the main benefits and support you have received from a Catholic education that positively impact you today?

Sadira: “Having smaller class sizes in a smaller school definitely gave me more one-on-one time with my teachers to talk about lessons and ask questions. This helped me to learn and understand things that I might not have otherwise. Also, having a strong support system of school staff and students behind you really helps.”

Nasrene: “As a student I attended Catholic schools from Kindergarten through completion of my Bachelor’s Degree. It’s really all I’ve ever known! Attending Graduate school was the first time I wasn’t a student in a Catholic institution. Ultimately my Catholic education pushed me to achieve scholastically as a student, and that is something that I carry with me today. I set a very high bar for myself, and I believe much of that comes from the high expectations that were set for me as a student. More importantly my Catholic education gave me a family that extends far beyond my immediate family. My IND classmates are true sisters to me and I cannot wait for Sadie to experience the same sistership at Maryvale. My Catholic education provided me with a supportive environment in which to learn from caring educators, many of whom I still keep in touch with today.”

Q: Nasrene, what are you doing currently?

“Currently, I am the Employee Benefits Director for Howard County Public School System, and I am a part time Travel Coordinator for my own business, Currently Out Of Office.”

Q: Sadie, what are your plans when you attend Maryvale?

“At Maryvale I would like to participate in the musicals and plays, student government, and maybe even get on the National Honors Society.”

Q: How do you think the Knott Scholarship Fund instills leadership and provides leadership opportunities?

Sadira: “I think that the Knott Scholarship can help students see that their hard work pays off. It also helps students to be motivated to do well in school and to see how important school is to the trajectory of their lives.?

Nasrene: “To me when I think of my Knott Scholarship I think of the Bible verse, “to whom much is given, much will be required.” While it does take a tremendous amount of academic work to receive this scholarship, it truly is such a blessing to those who receive it. For me I felt a sense of responsibility to work my very hardest and to be a blessing to others in any way that I could, since I was the recipient of such a tremendous gift. Given that we are now a Knott legacy family, I feel even more of a sense of responsibility to give back and to find ways to afford others opportunities, the way the Knott Scholarship Fund provided opportunity for me.”

Thank you so much, Nasrene and Sadira, for sharing your experiences with us!