Elizabethtown High School senior Rabia Nasir has found working in student government organizations is a good way to learn more about her community.
Nasir became active in Kentucky United Nations Assembly and Kentucky Youth Advocates in middle school because of the influence of her two older siblings.
“KUNA and KYA were a big part of my high school career and I always looked forward to the conferences and learning about new things and meeting new people,” she said. “I have held leadership positions within our Y-Club at school and have always participated in some kind of role at KUNA and KYA.”
She also has a love of photography and won the best photography award one year as a media delegate.
These organizations helped shape her, Nasir said.
“It has opened my eyes to the problems facing our communities and how we, the youth, can address these problems and become the voice for the underprivileged,” she said. “I strongly believe in giving back and I make sure to volunteer in my spare time whenever I have a chance.”
Nasir volunteers with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland, Warm Blessings, The Islamic Center and various organizations in Louisville.
“I believe it’s very important to give back to our community because there are so many people in need and if we do not step up and do our part, we will not be able to make our communities stronger, safer and healthier,” she said. “We are only as good as the person beside us.”
Nasir also participated in two Governor’s School programs.
In 2019, Nasir was selected to the Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs. She spent three weeks on the Northern Kentucky University campus. As a sophomore she was one of the younger participants at the time, she said.
“I learned a great deal from my peers and mentors,” she said.
In 2020, Nasir was selected for the Governor’s School for the Arts in the area of poetry.
Nasir called being involved in these programs great honors of her high school career.
“I was able to meet so many new people from across the state of Kentucky, make new friends and learn about them as well as learning about my craft,” she said. “I had to go through a very competitive and detailed application process, which involved essays and videos. It was quite extensive but paid off in the end.”
Because the 2020 program was online, Nasir spent those three weeks in a virtual program.
“It was a different way of learning and interacting. It actually prepared me for the upcoming school year, as we were virtual for most of my senior year,” she said.
COVID-19 has caused many changes to the lives of students, especially in the way they learn, Nasir said.
“Virtual learning this year was a little hard to get used to and took a while to understand,” she said, adding the teachers and administrators helped make learning in this format possible. “They have worked so hard to make sure that we do not fall behind and have been so concerned and dedicated to our education. It is truly commendable, and I can not thank them enough for what they have done for us.”
Social interactions with her friends and trying to participate in extra curricular activities have been challenging, Nasir said
“But I have learned that anything is possible through innovation,” she said.
In Y-Club and Beta Club service, students were able to come up with unique ways to give back, Nasir said.
“I was assigned to a lovely senior citizen in a nursing home that I interacted with weekly through zoom,” she said. “We would chat and talk about so many different things. It was a great experience.”
Nasir said they became friends and she plans on visiting her when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Even though club activities are different right now, she still sees the importance in them.
“I believe being involved at the school level is important to me because it is a way to connect within our school and community,” she said, pointing out particular interest in Beta Club, Y-Club and Muslim Student Association. “These clubs are service oriented and I am able to volunteer and do service projects through these clubs.”
One of her teachers, Corey Yates, said Nasir is conscientious in her words and actions.
“She is passionate about social justice issues that involve the civil rights and liberties of Americans,” he said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed having her in class over the past two years and look forward to seeing where the future takes her.”
After high school, Nasir hopes to major in business and eventually will apply to law school.
“My goal is to serve the underprivileged in any capacity that I can,” she said. “I plan on starting a nonprofit that will focus on benefiting women and children on a national and global scale.”