By Saveria Farino
Known for her collection of beautiful hijabs, kind heart, and caring nature towards others, senior Emaan Khawaja has spent her high school years supporting the people around her, and plans to continue helping her community as she starts her next adventure after graduation.
During her time as a Cougar, Khawaja has been a part of the Advanced Honors program. She also participated in Speech and Debate, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, and Muslim Student Association, which she started her junior year. Khawaja describes starting MSA as a challenge because it had not been a success in the past, and “people aren’t excited when they don’t know what to expect.” Although they had a rocky start, with her determination and drive, Khawaja was able to create a safe place for fellow Muslim students on campus. Some activities they do in MSA include PB&J-athons, potlucks at the park to bond with each other, and crafts with seniors at Angel Care Nursing Home. Working so hard with the club, Khawaja has put nothing but passion into MSA.
Not only was Khawaja apart of many clubs in school, but she also regularly does volunteer work outside of school. For the past year and a half Khawaja has volunteered at St. Rose Hospital: she works the front desk and discharges patients. She chose to do volunteer work at the hospital to gain experience for her future career. Khawaja wants to be an OB (obstetrician) that specifically helps infertile patients.
After being accepted into George Mason University, University of Nevada Reno, and University of Portland, she chose to go to her top choice Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. Traveling over 1,500 miles away from home is always nerve racking, but Khawaja will be less than an hour away from her relatives who are Memphis locals. Putting her fears aside, she knows that “family makes the transition easier” and is looking forward to seeing them on a regular basis come this fall.
Khawaja also makes it a point to have quality time with her friends when she is not volunteering or doing schoolwork. Anytime we can sit, laugh and eat all at the same time is always fun,”she said. when referring to her best friends, seniors Hailey Knowles and Arunima Chakraborty. Whether they are getting a bite to eat, watching movies, or playing Rock Band, they are always in good company when they hang out together.
“I would describe her as compassionate because I feel like she truly listens to people when they tell her something, and she always has the backs of the people she cares about,” Knowles said. “She is intelligent because she knows a lot about the world and is amazing at helping others through their problems, and she is brave because she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in and does so without caring what other people may think, so she’s not afraid to be completely herself.”
Khawaja will always enjoy the time she spent as a Cougar, including going to assemblies which she describes as a “nice school spirit memory. Assemblies are what I’ll always remember high school as.” She wants all underclassman to remember. “Although it seems daunting at first, you can end up owning high school in your own unique way through clubs and extracurriculars. At the same time through those things you can find friends you can’t imagine life without.”