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April 6, 2013

THE EXTRA MILER: New Albany senior really shines

NEW ALBANY — There is a lot of finger-pointing these days accusing our youth of being unmotivated, disengaged and not able to relate to those in need outside of their personal circle of friends/family. Our Extra Miler this month, Fatima Omar, redirects the finger pointing and takes some of the heat off her generation.

Fatima is a senior at New Albany High School and she was submitted as an Extra Miler for Southern Indiana by numerous NAHS teachers and officials, along with Principal Janet Page. Page explained, “Fatima is truly unique — she recognizes the opportunities of her high school education, faces challenges, and plans for the future. She is a fantastic student that makes the most of every minute of every day.”

Fatima views the world from a global perspective and doesn’t perceive walls around our community. She recently initiated the New Albany HS Environmental Outreach Club (see our tip of the month below). The project is supported by the NAHS AP Environmental Science class of 2012-13 and the group’s first project is focused on raising $5,500 for a bore hole to be built for an orphanage in Zimbabwe. The project, in part, supports the effort of NAHS to qualify as an International Baccalaureate school. They are currently in the final stages of approval.

The baccalaureate program provides internationally acceptable university admissions qualification suitable for the growing mobile population of young people through internationally standardized courses and assessments for students. Fatima is passionate about assisting in bringing the Baccalaureate program to our community. She explained, “This program will give our school an international perspective in addition to creating a larger sense of community to our students.”

Fatima is involved in multiple volunteer groups and activities, including the NAHS Latin Club, student mentor, Student Council, National Honor Society, Floyd County Teen Court, various academic teams, and volunteering at the Floyd Memorial Cancer Center.

She has volunteered at the Cancer Center for nearly two years and because of her experience with patients, her career choice shifted. Fatima said, “I have learned how much I like the patient aspect of medicine. By observing the high cost of medical treatment and the number of people who cannot afford it, my field of study has shifted toward public health policy.”  

Fatima’s NAHS teachers are some of her most avid supporters. Her chemistry teacher, Clark Mumaw, describes her as being a “determined” person. He explained, “Others look to Fatima because she is a go-getter. She doesn’t sit back and wait to see what happens.”

Her Latin teacher, Steven Prince, describes Fatima as an “awesome” young lady. Prince continued, “NAHS is a better school because of Fatima.”

When asked what motivates her to help others, Fatima responded, “I’ve been given so many opportunities in life and although I know it is a bit cliché, it is only right for me to use my time to give back. I see it as taking time for myself.”

Laura McGuirk, senior counselor for NAHS described Fatima as being, “... a high-achieving and personable young lady. She is one of the most exceptional students I have ever advised as a high school or college counselor.”

It seemed all of Fatima’s teachers wanted to contribute to her recognition, including Matt Jacobi, her French teacher, who stated, “Fatima is respected and considered a person who will do great things with her life — she is an amazing young woman.”

Jason Cox is Fatima’s AP biology/AP environmental science teacher and a person she describes as her “life coach.” Cox described Fatima as a “game-changer.” When asked what he views as Fatima’s motivation to volunteer her time, Cox responded, “Seeing lives changed fuels her fire. Fatima is a humanitarian — a kind person — with a heart to give back, whether academically or through time in service.”

Fatima believes everyone should find what they enjoy in life, thus enabling them to focus on improving the lives of others. She stated, “Our society tends to focus on who we consider the smartest or most capable, when in reality everyone has the capability to make significant contributions. All you have to do is step out, find out how you can contribute, and then do it.”

Fatima is personable, insightful and forward thinking, focusing her heart on making life better for her community — and globally. She is a remarkable representative for her generation.

This month we recognize Fatima Omar as our Extra Miler for Southern Indiana and acknowledge her many efforts to make our community and world a better place. Thank you, Fatima.

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