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Flint Hill students make their mark outside of the school community

Artist+Isabel+Mejia+takes+a+picture+of+her+work+on+display+in+Fort+Myers%2C+Florida.
Artist Isabel Mejia takes a picture of her work on display in Fort Myers, Florida.

Artist Isabel Mejia takes a picture of her work on display in Fort Myers, Florida.

Photo Credit: Isabel Mejia

Photo Credit: Isabel Mejia

Artist Isabel Mejia takes a picture of her work on display in Fort Myers, Florida.

By Sara Khan, Photo Editor

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Flint Hill students represent a diverse set of backgrounds, interests, and personalities. In the Language Hall passionate scholars are found studying for an upcoming national Latin contest. In the Athletic Hall, student-athletes gather their belongings before a strenuous yet rewarding practice in their respective sports. While the exemplary achievements of these students are highlighted within the school community, various members of the Upper School contribute regularly to unique extracurricular activities and pursue their interests in diverse ways.

Sophomore Cameron Sabet, founder of the new Science Olympiad club at Flint Hill School and a science enthusiast, chooses to devote a large portion of his time outside of school to the Baha’i Faith. Although the Baha’i Faith is not widely known, its beliefs are a combination of many common religions, such as Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

“The Baha’i faith is a world religion that believes in the oneness of [God, religion, and humanity]. Some of the core beliefs include the importance of upholding the principle of the equality of women and men, compulsory education for all children, [elimination of all prejudices], the harmony of science and religion, and the elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty,” said Sabet.

In addition to practicing his faith on a regular basis, Sabet has been an eager participant in local events that spread the message of the Baha’i faith to those in the D.C. area.

“I sing bass with the Metropolitan Washington Baha’i Chorale, and we sang in front of members of Congress [on] October 2017 in an event promoting human rights in Iran. I participate in Race Unity in America discussions, a monthly neighborhood devotional gathering, where I play violin and share prayers and readings, and I volunteered at the Baha’i House of Worship for South America in Santiago, Chile,” said Sabet.

Recently, Sabet reached the age of maturation for those who follow the Baha’i faith at age 15. At that point in time, he is allowed to choose any path of beliefs to follow for his future. He chose to “keep with the Baha’i faith because the perception of everyone as members of one human family [gives him] a personal spiritual connection with God [as well as] a sense of purpose in his life.”

Sabet looks forward to pursuing the Baha’i faith in the future and “listening [to everyone’s opinions, as] everyone is on [his or her] own journey in life.”

Junior Isabel Mejia, like Sabet, has her own outlet to express her interests and personal beliefs. For Mejia, however, artwork is her form of expression. An avid artist, Mejia has been painting for as long as she can remember. She is also a student in advanced English and History classes but makes sure to find time to devote to her art after completing her homework.

“I don’t take [a formal art class], but I paint over the weekends. I also create sculptures, but I’m not [particularly great at it],” said Mejia.

Recently, she was able to have some of her work on display at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Fort Myers, Florida. Her collection of artwork, titled “False Forests and Hidden Skylines” was on display from December 8-22.

“My aunt works [at the art center] and she showed her boss pictures of my artwork. She loved it, and I got invited to do a show there,” said Mejia.

When asked to describe her work, Mejia stated that “there wasn’t a particular name for it,” but she feels that it is “stylistically close to comic books though.”

Mejia looks forward to pursuing her artistic talent in the future.

Junior Ashleigh Freda, much like Mejia, is very involved within the Flint Hill School community. A member of the Yearbook and Prom Committee as well as an advanced English student, she makes sure to find time to read, and she strongly believes that devoting even a small portion of time to reading outside of school can have long-lasting benefits.

“I like reading because it helps build your vocabulary and boost your imagination. It grows your knowledge and improves you as a person, which is extremely important. Once you find a genre or book that you like, it has apparent differences in your creativity and perception of the world,” said Freda.

Outside of reading for fun, Freda is a strong advocate for the hobby; she runs a “bookstagram” (an Instagram account dedicated to books) and a blog in order to communicate with avid readers around the world.

Photo Credit: Sue Spencer
Junior Claire Miller composes herself before shooting a free throw for the Varsity Girls’ Basketball team.

“My blog focuses on various different aspects of reading. Some of the topics I have written about include: what I plan on reading, what I have read, reviews, recommendations, and reasons for reading leisurely, regardless of age. My bookstagram is an [outlet] for other people to see what I am reading as well as an [opportunity] for me to find new books to read. I post about the books that I have read, but for me, it’s mostly about finding books [that] I want to read,” said Freda.

She encourages students at Flint Hill to read as often as they can. For her, reaping the benefits of this hobby have led to noticeable improvements in her academic skills across all subjects.

Although junior Claire Miller was once a star clarinet player at the Langley School, she now chooses to devote her time outside of school to basketball training. An advanced Physics and History student on top of competing on a travel basketball team, Miller has learned over time to cope with her hectic schedule. She has been a valuable member of the Girls Varsity Basketball team since she was a freshman, and her achievements on the court have been evident since her first season on the team.

“I [have been playing] basketball since I was in third grade, so basketball has been one of the most important parts of my life. I [play] basketball [year-round], so I have to learn how to manage schoolwork with my crazy basketball schedule,” said Miller.

A typical day for Miller in the off-season involves practices twice a week with her travel team, as well as time for personal workouts. In season, she practices five times a week with the Flint Hill basketball team.

“During the school year, aside from practices, I have tournaments on at least one weekend of every month, and, during the summer, as I begin to gain more free time, the frequency of these tournaments picks up significantly,” said Miller.

However, despite this demanding schedule, Miller partakes in activities similar to most teenagers.

“I mostly hang out with my friends and family when I don’t have a basketball commitment to go to. It is important for me to have days to relax,” said Miller.

Regardless of the type of activity that Flint Hill students choose to participate in during their free time, the passion and commitment that each of them bring to their activities is unparalleled to other school communities. It is evident within the school community that students are able to pursue their passions in a welcoming environment, while being kind and hardworking citizens along the way.

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