First to Graduate: Achieving a Family Milestone

Chantal Venetal was born in Brooklyn, New York, but spent most of her childhood in Staten Island. She is the third of five children, and the first in her family to graduate high school and attend college.


Chantal came to Nyack College as a transfer student and is studying Criminal Justice. She was also president of the Student Government Association. Attending a Christian college wasn’t always part of Chantal’s plan. She first attended a school on Staten Island, but it wasn’t a good fit, and she ended up taking a semester off after leaving. That’s when Chantal began to pray that God would give her the desire to go back to school. Her prayer was answered at a church event where she met a representative from Nyack College. That meeting quickly led to a tour of the school, connecting with admissions counselors, and filling out an application. She felt supported and guided through the entire process. She found herself excited about returning to school and getting the fresh start she wanted.

Chantal has felt supported throughout her experience at Nyack College. She especially appreciates the care and attention she received from faculty members. She found them to be accessible and passionate educators who are genuinely interested in their students and always ready to help. In her words, “they go above and beyond the call of duty for their students. It’s more like a family unit here. That dynamic allowed me to feel comfortable and get to the finish line.”


Chantal found her experience at Nyack College to be transformative. She especially valued the chapel services for affirming her and giving her the endurance to make it through challenging semesters. Although she’d been raised to be completely self-sufficient, the encouragement she received from her fellow students and professors showed her how to trust people and that it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, part of what made Nyack College so special to her was, “that dynamic of friendship and family and support that we give each other.”


While attending a CUNY school, Chantal found it to be highly competitive with every person looking to get ahead, even if at the expense of others. Upon transferring to Nyack College, Chantal was happy to discover that it’s a supportive and collaborative community where everyone is valued. At Nyack College, everyone helps each other develop their gifts and talents. In her words, “everyone’s so friendly and they’re willing to help the next person get ahead and advance. We look out for each other.”


Nyack College has also inspired Chantal in terms of her future. As a criminal justice major, she’s interested in working with Nyack College’s Second Chance ministry, a program that gives people in prison access to higher education classes and degrees.