A Franklin resident her entire life, Tashawna Esmond attended New Hope Academy from Pre-K to 6th, then Freedom Middle School and Centennial High School, followed by The University of Tennessee-Martin.
“New Hope was the start of my education. I didn’t like reading until I got to New Hope. Then, I started getting birthday books as part of the school program and started reading more. That program helped a lot.”
Like many high school graduates, Tashawna went to college undecided on her degree pursuit. She was on track to study humanities and fine arts, focusing on English or something writing-related. In order to fulfill her general education credit requirements, she took a science course and, to her surprise, found it so interesting that she started taking more and more science classes. By the end of sophomore year, her college advisor told her that she was basically majoring in biology already. Two years later and many science classes later, Tashawna graduated UTM with a major in cell and molecular biology.
“The funny thing is, Mrs. Cochran, my fifth grade teacher at New Hope, told me I could do medicine, that she could see that in my future. She saw something in me then that I didn’t even yet see for myself. In retrospect, that conversation encouraged me to have the confidence to choose the career path I’m on today.”
Tashawna now works as a research assistant in the rheumatology and immunology lab at Vanderbilt, studying how the immune system responds to sickness so that treatments can be developed for autoimmune diseases, specifically juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She is also in the process of applying to graduate school and intends to get a Masters in Public Health or a Masters of Science in Epidemiology.
As a humble Franklin native, Tashawna is effusive about New Hope’s role in helping prepare her for the success she enjoys now. “New Hope is instrumental in a lot of kids’ lives. Kids like me, my siblings, my nieces and nephews who come from low-income situations, we wouldn’t have been able to attend without scholarships. We are grateful for those people who contribute money to the scholarship fund. It really helps people.”
New Hope Academy is a private, coeducational, Christ-centered school for pre-kindergarten through 6th grade students, located in Franklin, Tennessee. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we transform children into life-long learners, hands-on problem solvers, pure worshipers, and world-changers – children steeped in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.