Student Feature: Yasmina Abufasha—A Symphony, A Poet, A Hijabi
In the mosaic of life, Yasmina Abufasha, a current senior at Clifton High School (CHS), stands as a brilliant testament to the beauty of diversity and the power of resilience. Her story is a captivating symphony of cultures, passions, and dreams that entwines her Palestinian and Russian heritage into a tapestry of strength and vibrancy. Born as the eldest daughter in a family of seven, Yasmina's heart beats with the fervor of a poet and scholar, embodying the intricate essence of a multicultural upbringing.
Her parents, who ventured to America with nothing but dreams and determination, have instilled within her a burning passion for learning and the importance of hard work. Yasmina, reflecting on the sacrifices her parents made, says with gratitude, "I know that they want for me to accomplish great things, and to be able to make them proud is honestly all I could ever ask for."
The journey of self-discovery is a path laden with obstacles, and Yasmina's odyssey has been no exception. As she entered the daunting world of high school, she found herself wrestling with an overwhelming lack of self-confidence, a challenge magnified by her decision to wear the hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women. The anxiety weighing her heart was palpable as she navigated the bustling hallways at CHS. Yet, the tender embrace of a friend and a simple, heartfelt compliment - "You look beautiful" - altered the trajectory of her view of life. From that transformative moment, Yasmina learned to embrace her culture and the hijab, uncovering the beauty in her uniqueness and the power of kind words.
Yasmina's interests are as vast and varied as the tapestry of her life. Her passion for science led her to the prestigious ranks of the National Science Honor Society and Pre-Med Club, while her love for reading and writing secured her a coveted position in the National English Society; her mathematical prowess is evident in her National Math Honor Society membership. However, it is her time spent playing the viola with the Clifton High School Orchestra that Yasmina cherishes above all else. "I think it's beautiful to be able to work together, attend rehearsal after rehearsal, and have our efforts culminate in an amazing concert," she muses, reflecting on the camaraderie she shares with her musical family.
Beyond academics and extracurriculars, Yasmina's soul finds solace in the arts, breathing life into her passions through reading romance and mystery novels, writing poetry, and painting. Her poetry is a poignant ode to the power of everyday life, as she weaves seemingly mundane moments into evocative, stirring verses. She hopes for the "day where [her diary] becomes a book completely filled cover to cover with [her] words." Her paintings, too, immortalize memories upon the canvas, snapshots of time to be revisited and cherished in the years to come.
Yasmina's life is a delicate dance of academics, extracurriculars, and personal passions, a performance she executes with grace and determination. As valedictorian of the Clifton High School Class of 2023, she is humbled by the honor, recognizing the tireless dedication of her peers in their own pursuits. "I am forever grateful for my family, friends, and teachers, who have enabled me to accomplish so much throughout my high school career," she says, her words brimming with heartfelt sincerity.
Two formidable figures stand out as mentors in Yasmina's life: her junior-year English teacher, Ms. Miller-Hamilton, and her mother. "Ms. Hamilton has always acknowledged the effort I put not only in the classroom, but also in all other areas of my life." Yasmina says. When reflecting on her mother's invaluable advice, she continues, "She [Yasmina's mother] has always been the one to convince me to take time for myself. It's no exaggeration to say that my mother knows me better than I know myself, and without her support, I would never have made it to where I am today." Her rich conversations with Ms. Hamilton and her mother's unwavering support and guidance have left a memorable mark on Yasmina's high school development.
Drawing wisdom from her experiences, Yasmina recognizes the importance of surrounding herself with a strong, loyal friend group. She admits, "Peer pressure is real, and it never really goes away." But, emphasizing the need to befriend those who have a positive influence, she understands that her friendships play a vital role in the narrative of her life. Yasmina cherishes the moments shared with her friends, laughter echoing through the air, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
A simple yet powerful motto guides her life: "Perfection is the enemy of good." Once entangled in the toxic pursuit of perfection, Yasmina has learned that progress, not perfection, is the key to growth and fulfillment. This hard-earned lesson has allowed her to step out of her comfort zone, embrace the beauty of life's imperfections, and soar to new heights.
As Yasmina prepares to embark on the next chapter of her life, she remains deeply grateful for the people and experiences that have shaped her. She aspires to continue her education in the field of medicine, driven by her desire to give back to her community and make a difference in the lives of others. "I want to leave this world better than I found it," she says with determination.
Yasmina Abufasha's story is a vivid tapestry of cultures, strength, and passion woven through the threads of her experiences. Her journey is a powerful reminder that with resilience and determination, we too can overcome our fears, embrace our unique qualities, and attain greatness. If there's one lesson Yasmina's journey can teach us, it's that we all have the power within us to create our own story, to paint our own canvases with colors that reflect our true selves.
And so, as the sun sets on her high school years, Yasmina Abufasha steps boldly into the future, her heart brimming with gratitude, her spirit imbued with hope, and her soul overflowing with the profound poetic verses acquired through her time at CHS. With the strokes of her journey unfurling behind her, Yasmina moves forward, ready to embrace the new adventures that await her and leave her indelible mark on the world.
In the words of a poet, who knows better than most the power of a well-chosen word or a carefully crafted verse, Yasmina's life stands as a testament to the beauty of diversity and the strength of the human spirit. As she continues weaving her unique and inspiring journey, we, as fellow Cliftonites, will continue to listen to her symphony with pride!