18 Under 18

  The Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts 18 Under 18 Awards,
presented by Teddy Bear Pools and Spas, provide an opportunity to recognize outstanding
young people who exemplify innovative spirit, leadership and community involvement.




 Meet the JA 18 Under 18 Class of 2024

Aarav Trehan

Aarav TrehanAarav Trehan is a senior at Longmeadow High School. He has been employed at a restaurant for four years and interns at an accounting firm over the summer. He was born in Hartford, CT, and lived in West Springfield for five years before moving to Longmeadow. He will graduate from Longmeadow High School this June. After high school, he plans to pursue a degree in finance. One day he hopes to work as an investment banker.

In his free time, Aarav likes to watch and play sports. His favorite sports to watch are basketball, football, and Formula 1. He enjoys fantasy football and is always looking to feed his competitive spirit. He also travels a lot with his family and likes to hang out with friends when he can.

His community involvement is centered around helping youth, as he coaches a basketball team in the winter, and volunteers as a summer camp counselor. He also tutors students in various subjects. During the holidays, he builds gift baskets for underprivileged children. For his work, he has earned an upstanding citizen award from school. He was also featured on a Mass Appeal news segment for his internship experience.

Aiden Kane

Aiden KaneAiden Kane is a senior at Agawam High School. He is the student representative to the school committee, president of best buddies, member of AHS Jazz Band, track and field, prom committee, peer mediation, model congress, and the helping hands club.

Aiden’s hobbies and activities are learning historical facts, hanging out with friends and watching anything Star Wars related. For community service, he organized a non-perishable food drive for a homeless shelter in coordination with his school’s powderpuff game in time for Thanksgiving. He plans to attend Springfield Technical Community College in the fall for two years, then transfer to the University of Massachusetts for a degree in political science.

A’jahna Johnson

A'jahna JohnsonIn the Spring of 2023, A’jahna Johnson was accepted into the Career Internship program at Chicopee Comprehensive High School. They rarely take juniors in the program, but A’jahna’s positive recommendations from school staff gave them the confidence to allow her to begin junior year.

Her first internship in junior year was within the Physical Education Department and the next year she held an internship with the Chicopee Public School’s Athletic Department. During this time, she developed leadership skills and professionalism and completed work readiness training. Since then, staff have had the pleasure of seeing A’jahna every day when she reports to the College & Career Center for her internships.
In the spring of 2024, A’jahna was admitted to the esteemed EMT Academy offered by Chicopee Public Schools. The rigorous program takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. for one semester. A’jahna is currently undergoing training to become an emergency medical technician, a pursuit that aligns with her aspirations of a future career in nursing. She is ambitious and has set her sights on pursuing a nursing degree at Delaware State University (HBCU) in the upcoming fall semester. A’jahna adeptly manages her schedule while maintaining academic excellence and undertaking employment in retail.

Not only is A’Jahna an excellent student, but she is also a natural leader and advocate. During her sophomore year in high school, she took the initiative to establish a Black History Month Committee upon recognizing the inadequate recognition and celebration of Black History Month within her school community. Together with a dedicated teacher, she spearheaded the formation of a committee and enlisted the support of fellow students. A’Jahna dedicated her efforts to creating informative posters and interactive bulletin boards showcasing notable African American figures, aimed at educating both her peers and the faculty.

Haileigh Swistak

Haileigh SwistakHaileigh Swistak is a senior at Quaboag Regional High School and will be attending Wheaton College in the fall. She plans on majoring in creative writing and possibly minoring in theater. She immensely enjoys reading and writing as well as participating behind the scenes in theater productions at her high school.

For the past two years, she has been stage director for Quaboag’s theater program. She assisted stage directing Freaky Friday: The Musical and was head stage director for Camp Omigosh and The Addams Family: A New Musical. Over the past year, she has co-written a play that she is currently co-directing, which will be performed by Quaboag’s middle school in the spring. On top of that, Haileigh has self-published two poetry collections that are available on Amazon: Raindrops in April and Roses in May.

Haileigh is a consistent honor roll student and has regularly volunteered at the West Brookfield Merriam Gilbert Public Library over the past three years. She is currently working at the Warren Public Library as a substitute librarian and has recently started working as a server at The Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden.

Haileigh is extremely honored to have been given this award and the opportunity to showcase her accomplishments and plans for the future.

Isabella Oliveira

IsabellaOlivieraIsabella Oliveira is a junior at Agawam High School. During her high school experience, she has taken a huge interest in finding ways to try and improve her community. One of the biggest projects she took on this year was the creation of a Prom Closet for her school. While in a Future Teachers of America meeting, for which she serves as president, she proposed the idea of collecting clothing for students to take and wear to prom.

Isabella began networking on social media and with community businesses to spread the word about the collection. They held a collection at the library and collected over 200 prom dresses as well as clutches, jewelry, tuxedos, and shoes for students at Agawam High to use. The closet has been a huge success for the school community and students have been able to take items free of cost to use for prom.

She is also a member of the District Attorney’s Youth Advisory Board and has taken on a leadership role for the Inclusion and Diversity Committee. Within school, she is vice president of Peer Leadership, a group designed to lead peers in the right direction throughout high school, and was named president of the Best Buddies club for next year. She also recently been inducted into the National Honors Society, and is a two-season athlete within her school having played basketball and softball since freshman year.

With all of this in mind, Isabella has begun her college search and has decided to pursue a doctorate in pharmacy to become a pharmaceutical scientist. Schools she is considering include the University of Connecticut or Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Jasmine Griffin

Jasmine GriffinJasmine Nicole Griffin currently attends East Longmeadow High School, and is I am grateful to have been accepted into 16 colleges. She plans to attend the University of Hartford this fall as a nursing major. Her passion for healthcare and desire to make a positive impact in this crucial field have driven her career choice.

Throughout her high school years, Jasmine has actively participated in various activities and organizations that have enriched her educational experience. She has been a member of the band, playing the trombone, and has enjoyed competing in field and track events as well as volleyball. She has dedicated her time to the recycle team and the women’s empowerment team, with a focus on empowering and uplifting young women. As part of the Women’s Fund Young Women’s Advisory Council Cohort – 2022 National Project, she has been actively engaged in creating prosperity for young women.

Jasmine is proud to have consistently achieved honor roll status throughout her high school years, demonstrating her commitment to academic excellence. Moreover, she has completed several internships, which have provided invaluable hands-on experience and further fueled her passion for healthcare.

Jasmine is enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead and the chance to contribute to the healthcare field. She says coming from a minority student background in a predominantly non-minority school has shaped her perspective and deepened her understanding of the importance of embracing diverse cultures.

She firmly believes that these experiences, in combination with her recognition of the significance of inclusive representation, have equipped her to navigate the intricacies and challenges of the medical domain. She is dedicated to actively championing diverse representation, supporting underrepresented communities, and working towards equitable access to healthcare for all.

Jayden Lopez

Jayden LopezJayden Lopez is a current senior at Holyoke High School. Growing up in Holyoke as a young Puerto Rican man, he has learned from his family and the many people he grew up around that where you come from doesn’t predetermine who you are or what you will become. He was taught to not just love but to have pride in where he came from and the people he has met along the way because they are a huge part of what makes him who he is.

His time in high school provided many opportunities to give back to his community and use his skills as a creative to serve. In his sophomore year, he joined the HHS Theater Company, which sparked a fire in him that has led not only to starring in multiple productions over time, but also to serve as an assistant director and even a producer.

Last year, Jayden worked with Enlace De Familia’s Betty Medina Lichtenstein on a new community event. With her, he created the Holyoke Community Expo & Celebration. The event was for entrepreneurs and local artists to showcase and sell their work to the community. Along with the commerce aspects, he combined forces with the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative’s annual youth basketball tournament and his community college’s Culinary Department to provide entertainment and free, unlimited food for all in attendance. The event was free for attendees as well as anyone presenting work. With over 200 people in attendance, he helped create an event that benefited his community by promoting a positive narrative that is so often overshadowed in today’s landscape by hate and division.

Later that year, he applied to Generation Teach and was hired as a teaching fellow, tasked with carrying out the day-to-day reading and art curriculum for 6th-grade students. Jayden started his senior year as a producer on Our Town. While working on that, he sought to connect his school with Enlace De Familia’s with the goal of creating an afterschool program for students. His effort was successful and in partnership with HPS, the Community Empowerment Lab at HHS was born. Soon after the program announcement, he was hired as a youth peer leader, tasked with supporting fellow students with their community activism and projects. He employed the knowledge he developed with the HCE in order for students to learn about the history of Holyoke and how they can work with nonprofits or even by themselves to make a change in their communities.

This summer, Jayden will rejoin Generation Teach as a teaching fellow. He has committed to Emerson College in Boston for the fall, and will major in comedic arts as a writer and entertainer He plans to continue to spread love and laughter no matter where he goes in life, while also using his skills as a teacher and role model to be a voice for youth in his community.

Jordan Wetherell

Jordan WetherallJordan Wetherell stands out as an exemplary student at Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School, where she has carved a reputation for academic excellence and leadership. As a dedicated business technology student, Jordan has honed her skills in marketing, management, entrepreneurship, and customer service, all while pursuing Microsoft certification. Her commitment extends beyond the classroom as she actively contributes to the school community, notably through her role in managing the school store, where she handles various responsibilities including advertising, inventory management, and cash handling. Additionally, Jordan serves as a Peer Tutor, providing invaluable academic support to her fellow students.

Jordan’s journey to excellence is marked by a series of notable achievements and recognitions. She has participated in prestigious events such as the Junior Achievement (JA) Stock Market Challenges and Business Professionals of America State Conferences, showcasing her talent and expertise. Notably, her outstanding performance in these competitions has earned her several accolades, including 2nd Place in the EnTEENpreneur Challenge and 4th Place in the BPA State Conference. Jordan’s dedication to academic and extracurricular pursuits has also been recognized through her induction into the National Technical Honors Society.

Beyond her academic and professional endeavors, Jordan remains actively engaged in her community. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, she continued to contribute through various volunteer activities, including assisting at the Palmer Public Library and volunteering at her dojang’s taekwondo summer camp. Jordan’s passion for community involvement is further evidenced by her participation in school clubs such as the drama club, and her role in organizing events like the talent show and junior prom. With her multifaceted talents and unwavering dedication, Jordan exemplifies the spirit of excellence and service, leaving an indelible mark on both her school and community.

Lila Broadley

Lila BroadlyLila Broadley is currently a junior at Quaboag Regional Middle-High School. She has a passion for education reform and enjoys being a volunteer tutor for underserved students. This has allowed her to have a positive influence on others and give back to her community. In the past, she has served as the vice president of her school’s chapter of the National Junior Honor Society, and is now currently a member of the Lucy Stone Chapter of the National Honor Society.

Lila has also been a member of the Women in Business Club throughout high school, through which she attends the Women’s Leadership Conference held at the MassMutual Center every April. She is also the president of the Environmental Club, in which she has been a leader in restoring her school’s greenhouse, educating preschoolers on the importance of recycling, and working on improving the appearance of the school gardens. She has also put forward a motion for establishing the much-needed student-led school newspaper, and her goal is to get it started at the beginning of the next school year. If all aspects of the club are approved, she will become editor-in chief and aims to give her fellow peers a voice in school affairs.

Last summer, Lila was an intern for the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, where she gained valuable insight into the legal system and had the opportunity to network with various legal professionals. She plans to complete another internship with the DA’s Office this summer. She also participated in law at the state level, representing her school at the Massachusetts State House in Boston for the 77th annual Student Government Day.

Lila’s academic achievements are equally impressive. She is one of the top students in her graduating class, takes multiple honors and AP classes, and consistently attains first honors and numerous academic awards every year.

Some of her hobbies include reading, gardening, boating, and skiing. She is a member of the varsity tennis team and plays field hockey. Additionally, she loves to travel; her goal is to adventure to all 50 states and visit every continent. One of her favorite travel experiences was going on a trip through Europe with her closest friends, visiting Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and France. She enjoys spending her summers vacationing and working on Martha’s Vineyard.

After high school, Lila plans to attend university and focus on economics, the humanities, and engage in the pre-law track. She also wishes to attend law school and practice either business or environmental law. Lila’s advice to others is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way because it will give you a greater purpose and a chance to learn.

Lucy Hildreth

Lucy HildrethLucy Hildreth is a junior at Agawam High School who is very community oriented, with a focus on academic commitment and contributions, and a vision for a more inclusive society. Lucy dedicated fair portions of her weeks to extracurriculars and after school events at Agawam High. She has served as president of the AHS’s Sign Language Club for the last three years, learning the history and art behind ASL, and raising awareness of the deaf community at her school, as well as learning the language itself.

As a leader of the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), she has promoted LGBTQIA+ friendly actions and events, such as the Day of Silence, and provided allies and queer individuals with a safe space for expression. Other extracurriculars such as the AHS Drama Club and Art Club have allowed her to discover and sustain small communities of cultural and identification inclusion. In 2023, Lucy was the club liaison for a Color Run presented by Griffin’s Friends, and communicated with the school community to foster an encouraging and uplifting environment for the event.

Lucy has recently begun volunteering with Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee, serving and preparing over a hundred meals each week. She has found this to be an enlightening experience of how diverse and community based our society is.

Last year, she worked with the District Attorney’s Office on the Youth Advisory Board with the Inclusion Committee, working with a small group of intuitive students across Hampden County to create presentations for schools and their training with equity and equality. This position also allowed her to interact with elementary and middle school aged students to teach them about the importance of internet safety and methods to initiate that concept. In addition to her community impact, Lucy is an entrepreneur and owner of a small business, Textile Terrarium, beginning her experience in women- and queer-owned establishments.

Mah’dee Naylor Jr.

Mah'dee NaylorAs an outstanding student and active member of the New England Public Media (NEPM) Youth Media Lab, Mah’dee Naylor Jr. has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to media production and community engagement. His role involves a diverse array of tasks, from performing maintenance and providing technological support to contributing to event support and equipment transfer. Mah’dee’s initiative and passion for media shine through in his proactive approach to securing their position.

Beyond his involvement with NEPM, Mah’dee’s dedication to service and leadership extends into various facets of their community. From serving as finance officer, usher, and youth leader at Dwelling Place Church to their contributions to Parent Villages and other organizations like Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, his impact is felt far and wide. His list of achievements and recognitions, including delivering keynote speeches at significant events and earning awards for oratorical competitions, showcases his exceptional communication skills and leadership abilities.

In addition to Mah’dee’s academic and community achievements, he is a well-rounded individual with a passion for sports, serving as the team captain for the Springfield Red Sox and playing varsity baseball for Putnam High School. With a 4.0+ GPA, aspirations in aviation and electrician fields, and a track record of speaking engagements and community involvement Mah’dee exemplifies the spirit of leadership, dedication, and excellence both in and out of the classroom.

Martha Brannstrom

Martha BrannstromAs the daughter of an engineer who works for an international company, moving came as naturally as riding a bike to Martha Brannstrom. Even though she moved from Chicago to South Carolina to Texas to Shanghai, China to Massachusetts, she always found moving exciting. Everywhere Martha lived, she discovered new ways to grow and be the best version of herself through new people she met.

When Martha started high school during the COVID-19 pandemic, she felt restless and wanted to make a change. She decided to run for class president her sophomore year and to her surprise, she won! She loved her first year in student government so much, she ran again junior and then senior year as well. Martha’s three-year term consisted of participating in educational leadership conferences, planning dances and fundraisers, and being responsible for renewing her high school’s annual pep rally and homecoming dance.

Last year, Martha was also elected student government representative for her school at Student Government Day in Boston, where they held mock senate meetings and voted on two bills. She is also a part of the National Honors Society, is a French mentor for the Language Mentoring Club, is a varsity athlete for volleyball and track and field, and is a member of numerous other clubs. Along with her school activities, she is a part-time ice cream scooper at Batch Ice Cream in Longmeadow.

Most of all, her main pride and joy is serving as an intern for regional political campaigns. In the summer of 2022, she worked for Eric Lesser in his Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts race. The next summer, Martha worked for Eric Coleman in his Mayor of Hartford, Connecticut race. In these campaigns, she knocked on 500+ doors, called 1400+ voters, and helped out at events all across these two states. This semester, she interns for Senator Jake Oliveira and has participated in many events and learned so incredibly much about local government and state government.

After she graduates, Martha will continue her internship with Senator Oliveira in his re-election campaign for Senator of Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester District, while also working at Batch. She will later study political science at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. As for careers, she hopes to work in the political field, helping create positive change the best that she can.

Mychal Connolly Jr.

Mychal Connolly JrMychal Connolly Jr., known affectionately as Mikey, first ventured into the entrepreneurial world by co-authoring a motivational book titled Realistic CEO with his father. The book was inspired when a high school teacher said during a class project that becoming a CEO was unrealistic. The goal of the book is to inspire young people to chase their entrepreneurial dreams, no matter the odds. Building on this foundation, Mikey launched the “Realistic CEO” podcast, a platform where he continues to demystify the journey to corporate leadership by interviewing successful CEOs and business owners.

An avid basketball player and video game enthusiast, Mikey uses these interests to sharpen his strategic thinking and team skills—key traits for any aspiring CEO. He is preparing to enhance these skills by studying communication in college and has also launched RealisticCEO.com. This new endeavor is dedicated to honing his communication and journalism skills while teaching others what he learns about becoming a CEO. One of his standout goals with the podcast is to interview basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, blending his passion for sports with his entrepreneurial spirit.

Through these varied pursuits, Mikey not only aims to achieve his own CEO aspirations, but also to empower his peers to envision and work towards their own success.

Nicholas Kendra

Nicholas KendraNicholas Kendra began his academic journey at Saint Stanislaus School in 2010 where he says the foundation was built for his desire to achieve success and excellence. When he entered high school, circumstances were different due to COVID-19, but he did not let that get into the way of his performance.

He was inducted into the National Honor Society in 2022 and remains a member today. Nicholas is a top ten student in his class and continues to set a great example to his peers. Senior year, he had the privilege of holding an internship at River Mills Center in Chicopee. There, he troubleshot seniors’ technological issues. He also assisted in teaching a five-week iPad course and various workshops. This was a great experience for him as he intends to major in cybersecurity at Marist College in the fall.

In 2020, Nicholas became a member of the Ronald McDonald House of Springfield Teen Board. He is still a member and continues to fulfill and share the mission of the house through service, leadership, and compassion. Working with the other teens, he helps shed light on the community and illustrate what service is all about.

He has been a part of the soccer and baseball teams all four years of high school and has made some great acquaintances and accomplishments along the way. Nicholas is a great team player on the field. He shows up every day ready to play and takes great pride in it. Using his leadership skills, he keeps the positivity flowing on the team and illustrates what teamwork is truly about.

Nicholas is a person who strongly believes in helping others and making a difference in the community. He has been a lifeguard for two years and assisted patrons of the pool in distress multiple times. He is certified in first aid and CPR, so he knows how to tend to someone who is injured on the fly. Each day, Nicholas lives by the strong morals and skills he has developed, and it shows.

Qua'Nae Golston Thomas

Quanae Golston ThomasQua’Nae Golston Thomas is a senior at Holyoke High School where she has attained extensive knowledge in ethnic studies, which has allowed her to grow as a leader, educator, and activist. Outside of work, she enjoys producing her own podcast called Let’s Talk with Qua’Nae, which explores local topics like policies and school issues and mainstream topics like music and culture. She is very passionate about being an advocating voice for youth in Holyoke and is always looking for ways to center youth voices.

Recently, Qua’Nae co-collaborated with Holyoke Public Schools, UMass College of Education, and Wistariahurst Museum to form the Youth Archivists for Social Change program, which she worked on during the summer and fall of 2023. Additionally, she has worked for the Generation Team program, which partnered with AmeriCorps, where she worked as a teaching fellow teaching 6th grade math in the summer of 2021.

Qua’Nae’s dedication to education and social justice continued when she was a peer teacher during multiple weeks-long Acceleration Academy sessions at Holyoke High School, teaching “Hip-Hop and Activism” and “Drama for Change”. Other programs that Qua’Nae has been involved in include Global Glimpse, where she had the incredible opportunity to go to Aquiares, Costa Rica to volunteer for communities in need, and Source to Sea Clean-up, where she united her peers and volunteered to clean up trash and recycling at Springdale Park in Holyoke.
In the fall, Qua’Nae plans to go to Southern University at New Orleans, which is a well-respected Historically Black University. She will study criminal justice with the intention of going to a prestigious law school and becoming a criminal defense lawyer. Eventually, she plans to become a Supreme Court justice and continue her fight for social equality.

Nicholas Rodriguez

Nicholas RodriguezNicholas Rodriguez is a junior brimming with curiosity at Holyoke High school. He is currently taking multiple AP level and honors courses to challenge himself beyond what an ordinary high school student experiences in their academic career. He also has received multiple awards for achieving high honors in his grades and being a role model student for the Holyoke High School system.

In his spare time, Nicholas enjoys taking part in many extracurricular activities including being a three-year member of the chess club, aiding dozens of students in their journey to learn and enjoy playing such a rich strategical game. He has also participated in the As Schools Match Wits club, and even went live at Westfield College to compete with other high schools on the PBS show.

Nicholas has been a proud member of the Holyoke High Theater company, working behind the scenes as stage crew for multiple productions including West Side Story and My Fair Lady. He also joined the Holyoke High indoor/outdoor track team, primarily throwing in the field events, to challenge himself physically and help build his team-building skills.

Some of the ways Nicholas has given back to his community is by being a member of the Holyoke High redesign team and the Holyoke High representative on the school committee. He also volunteers to help to take disabled students ice skating at the Fitzpatrick Skating Rink in conjunction with the Holyoke High Athletics Department. In addition, he delivers food to the elderly within his religious community and works at the concession stand for youth basketball games.

Nicholas hopes to be accepted into one of the most prestigious technological universities in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently wants to spend his college career working for a degree in aerospace engineering with a minor in robotics, and has already begun working toward that goal by taking college robotics courses at his local community college.

After graduating college, Nicholas wants to pursue a career that allows him to build something that could be used to help humanity break free from the chains binding them to this lone planet, even if it means that he is but a steppingstone in the overall advancement in extraterrestrial exploration. He believes that everyone has the potential to be something great if they are provided with ample opportunity and are willing to put the work in, something he hopes to reflect in his lifetime.

Siobhan Armstrong

Siobhan ArmstrongSiobhan Armstrong is a driven and accomplished junior at Holyoke High School who has been actively engaged in various roles, showcasing her versatility and dedication. Impressively throughout her rigorous coursework and extracurriculars, she is fifth in her respective class of 2025, getting high honors every semester with a 4.298 GPA. Her active participation in extracurricular activities, such as the HHS Business Club, Garden Club, and Match Wits Team, showcases her well-roundedness and leadership abilities.

Outside of school, she holds positions at The Log Cabin and The Dam Café, both in Holyoke. Her roles include banquet server, pantry staff member, barista, and cashier. Her responsibilities have included serving and preparing food, executing custom validation tasks, and providing excellent customer service.

Beyond her professional endeavors, Siobhan is deeply committed to volunteer work and community service. She has served as a kid camp counselor at Summer Bible Camp, volunteered consistently at Blessed Sacrament School and Parish, and participated in various student government-led events and programs. Her involvement in initiatives such as the HHS special needs ice skating and track programs and HHS Theatre Company demonstrates her compassion and dedication to making a positive impact.

When Siobhan isn’t in the classroom or at work you can find her on the field or track. Being a three-time All-Western Mass Recipient for Field Hockey, she has consistently demonstrated excellence and determination. She was voted team captain as a junior for both the field hockey team and indoor and outdoor track and field team. Siobhan’s record-breaking performances in the 600m, the 4×2 and the 4×4 in track and her commitment to athletics have earned her accolades such as the MIAA Women in Sports Award in 2023, and recognition as a sophomore rising star in the Massachusetts Field Hockey Coaches Association.

When she graduates, Siobhan plans to study public health in hopes of becoming an epidemiologist, specifically hoping to study cancer research and prevention globally. Siobhan’s exceptional achievements across academics, extracurriculars, and community service embody her dedication and passion for excellence, paving the way for a future bright with promise and purpose.

Zainab Sheikh

Zainab SheikhZainab Sheikh is a highly motivated junior at Longmeadow High School. With a passion for leadership, she has spoken in front of more than 1100 student leaders from across the state. She was elected by those student leaders to represent Western Massachusetts on the Massachusetts Association of Student Councils state board. Before that, she represented her high school on the regional board, being the first-ever student from LHS to have served on either board.

In addition to leadership, community service and volunteering plays a big role in Zainab’s life, and it is one of her passions to give back to her community and help people. She is dedicated to many service-based clubs, such as Key Club, Lend-A-Helping-Hand, and the National Honor Society. She has also served as a class officer all four of her high school years and been a member of the LHS Writing Center Executive Board, Longmeadow Basketball, Longmeadow Soccer, Anti-Racism Committee, Mock Trial, Women in STEM, Students Together Against Negative Decisions, Red Cross Club, Best Buddies Club, and Science Olympiad. She has volunteered at various town events, school events, and youth programs, acquiring more than 100 volunteer hours in just three years.

Zainab’s involvement in her community does not take away from her academics or social life. She has maintained high and first honors throughout high school and is an advanced placement student. Her involvement in her community has resulted in many connections with people in her school, which allows her to have a positive influence on others. She has helped foster school spirit by chairing the first LHS Pep Rally and having a positive and inclusive mindset. During her free time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, watch football and basketball, bake, cook, drive to Dunkin’, do puzzles, and watch movies and TV shows.

Zainab strongly believes in inclusivity, diversity, and perseverance. She implements these values in all aspects of her life and combines them with her passions and future plans. She hopes to attend a four-year college and eventually go to dental school. She has begun building her experience by interning and working at a dental office and completing the Baystate Springfield Educational Partnership Course. She is also first aid certified.

As for building her leadership experience, Zainab was selected to attend Girls State in the Summer at Stonehill College. She has also attended numerous other leadership and networking conferences, including one in Cape Cod for three days. Zainab’s achievements include having been nominated to Governor Healy’s Youth Advisory Council, receiving the Commonwealth Award, and receiving the Jane Bellows Award. She has also started her own business as a self-taught henna artist.



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