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EPISD Student Spotlight: Zaina Alsarraj, Franklin High

Zaina Alsarraj

(FRANKLIN HIGH SCHOOL -- Oct. 8, 2020) — For Zaina Alsarraj, the president of Franklin’s National Honor Society, the pandemic did not provide an excuse to slack on a core belief of the organization she heads: community service. Using safety and health, she has coordinated efforts for members of Franklin’s NHS to still participate in civic-minded efforts aimed at helping the community. In this edition of the EPISD Student Spotlight, we sit down with the future biomedical engineer who hopes to attend either the University of Arizona or the University of Texas at Austin. She shared her positive message of kindness and helping others during the pandemic.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: What are you doing to keep up school spirit with your classmates during the pandemic?

ZAINA ALSARRAJ: I have been working with the Student Council trying to brainstorm some service opportunities for our NHS members. I am also trying to coordinate ideas that help support our teachers, staff, and students during this difficult time.

CE: Tell us how you lead other students in the four pillars of NHS during the pandemic?

ZA: I have an amazing NHS board to work with this year, and we have been making an extra effort to reach out to our members, making sure they are given opportunities to help them grow their leadership skills and character despite staying at home. 

 CE: What advice can you give to succeeding with remote learning?

ZA: Make sure that you keep track of assignments in a planner or calendar! I think it is also important to make sure you are paying attention to the lectures in class, it can be really difficult with at home distractions, but just do your best to separate school from home. 

CE: What are you doing to make the most of your senior year despite the pandemic?

ZA: I am definitely trying to make the NHS the best it can possibly be despite COVID, so I am having meetings with my board and constantly trying to improve our NHS chapter at Franklin.

CE: What are your honors and achievements in high school? 

ZA: I am president of my school's NHS chapter, have competed in HOSA’s CPR/First Aid competitions for two years (making it to internationals my junior year), and have also competed in solo and ensemble and all region orchestra. 

CE: What extracurricular activities are you involved in? 

ZA: I am in HOSA-Future Health Professionals, Science Club, National Honor Society, and a violist in Franklin's Varsity Orchestra. 

 CE: What advice would you give incoming freshmen? 

ZA: Stay motivated! High school can be hard but if you stay motivated and determined, you will be able to stay more organized and focused. High school is a stepping stone into the real world. Embrace it!

CE: What have you been doing outside of academics to get through the pandemic? 

ZA: I have been picking up more of my artistic hobbies such as making t-shirt blankets, embroidery, crocheting, painting, and playing my viola. I’ve also really love listening to my music. 

CE: What is the first thing you plan to do when the pandemic is over? 

ZA: I plan to hang out with my friends and if this ends during my senior year I would love to get NHS members more hands on service opportunities, including the Franklin Facelift (Campus Cleanup) and food banks. In addition to that, I would love to make it to HOSA internationals again.

 CE: Anything you’d like to add? 

ZA: Be Kind! You never know what a person is going through and it is especially important during this difficult time that we are there for our piers, friends, and families. Just make the effort to reach out and help others.

 
Interview by Reneé de Santos