Our Tribute To Nabila

Clara McAuley & Isabel Price

How one girl touched the lives of so many. 

Patty M, mother of Nabila, remarked that “in death, there is grief, but there is also joy and opportunity”. This is the story of a girl who was loved by everyone she ever met. Nabila taught us how to live fully, and in her death, she brought us together as a community. The only regret that we have is that we were never able to tell her how much appreciation we have for all of the good times. So here are some special memories that we would like to share with you from Nabila’s friends and other members of the OES community that knew and loved her.

  • Who Nabila was

Nabila loved space (she even had pictures of the milky way galaxy on her curtains), so naturally, she was delighted that her name sounded like ‘Nebula.’ 

Nabila loved the color yellow, because it reminded her of her favorite yellow highlighter, which she loved because of the “super cool clear yellow tip!”

She loved learning in your classrooms. She loved her teachers.

From a very early age, she had dreamed of being an astronaut, a goal that drove so many of her choices.

Nabila always thought there was something interesting to see, to notice, to discover.

Nabila was the sweetest and most incredible human we have ever had the privilege to meet. She was caring, kind, passionate, and genuine in every single way. 

  • Memories with Nabila

When I first met Nabila I just thought that she would be advisory friends and in 8th grade we were. But during camp Westwind, we got really close and for the rest of our time together we had fun every single day.


When you were born, and I held you for the first time, I knew that my life was about to change. After you were born, the nurses at the hospital gave me a paper wristband, on which they wrote: “I’m the new big sister!” I showed it off to everyone at school, and could not stop talking about you. I wore that wristband for at least 2 weeks straight before baba made me cut it off. But I still have it- and cherish it- because it reminds me of the best of my life- when you entered it.

When I left for college in August, and I held you for the last time, a wave of emotion hit you (and then consequently me). We both cried hard, though I had no idea why. I remember smiling through my tears, and trying to offer comfort by saying  “I’ll see you soon! Don’t worry. ” And with fate in the hands of the almighty, I pray to you for the patience for that day to come.

– Nabila’s sister Sarah M.

There wasn’t a single life in the Upper School that wasn’t somehow touched by Nabila’s kind generosity and radiant smile. She will be greatly missed, but always treasured in the hearts and community of her loved ones.

Unfortunately, I never talked to Nabila, I just remember seeing her in the Great Hall in groups with other students and thinking she had an aura of happiness. After we lost her, one of her MS teachers told me she was a very special person – every time he talked to her he felt better than before meeting her – what a gift she gave to people around her! 

I remember during the beginnings of soccer, she introduced herself and said people had called her “nebula” because of her love for space and the fact that her name itself was similar to the word for the interstellar cloud. Later on, I said something like “pass the ball nebula” and our coach looked at me and jokingly said “that’s not her name” when I turned to her she was just beaming and giggling. I wish I knew her more, and I hope she is up in space, shining down just like the very stars she loved while she was with us.

  • What Nabila taught us

You were my light in the dark, and I know that when I look up at the stars for the rest of my life, you will still be there-shining. Your memory will forever bind us together, and I promise to keep your spirit alive within my own actions.

Her joy, zest, and love for life are inspiring. I am seeking to find more “Nabila joy” in my life. We are all so blessed to have had the chance to know her. She brought joy and love and light to everything she did, and having that kind of radiant personality naturally attracted lots of people to her because she made them feel so good about themselves while being sure and confident of herself.

She always did and always will inspire me to be kind to everyone and to never let your smile drop

She was such a radiant, curious, kind, and brilliant person – the kind that made me feel like the world would be ok because it had people like her in it fighting for goodness, for learning, for friendship – for connection. I’m deeply saddened by this loss and feel grateful that I got to sit in her light for even a brief moment. I am forever grateful and will honor her legacy for the rest of my days.

Ultimately, Nabila lived a life so deliberately full of joy that as Nabila’s teacher Sue J. remarked, “she literally glowed in the dark.” She was a treasure to us all and will be deeply missed. However, as head of the Upper School Asha Appel wisely remarked, “in the days to come, let us all look for these moments of grace in the small things, let us recognize what Nabila did—that there is something beautiful to discover in everything.” Nabila was an irreplaceable example of what it means to be truly good, and now that she is gone we must do our best to honor her and continue to spread kindness and love so that she can do so through us. Let us all strive to live like Nabila.