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Lamisa Mustafa

12th Grade Student

President of the Human Rights Forum / Junior World Affairs Council and French Honor Society
Newman Smith High School

April Bowman is the rare type of presenter that actually makes people comfortable to speak out loud and engaged in her presentation. She made it so easy for us to voice “mhmm” or “yes” or “hahaha”, as she was very inviting towards our opinions and thoughts.

As first or second generation college graduates that come from low-income families, many of us as students could deeply relate to April. We have all felt that our circumstances limit our opportunities. But April drove home the idea that we can do what we believe we can do. She has persevered and her drive inspired us to reach our full potential. Her personal anecdotes made us feel an even deeper connection with her. I know that April’s words will stick with us for good because after the event was over, so many of the attendees told me “We loved the speaker! She was phenomenal.”

Personally, April has made me open my eyes to more options. I’m in the middle of my college application process and lately I have been feeling the notion that “I probably won’t get in anyway, so why even apply?” After April mentioned how she got a scholarship funded by the Gates Foundation even though she didn’t want to apply for it, I feel encouraged to apply to more colleges and to more scholarships. April told me that in the end, it will pay off because I will receive more in return for the time I spend completing the applications. Thinking of it that way makes me feel better. And as April says, college is, of course, only a stepping stone in the process of fulfilling my biggest goals.

April’s message was to do some deep soul-searching to find our aspirations in life. As a group of distinguished students with interests in pursuing meaningful careers, I know my classmates have taken this advice to heart. April reminded us that we should dream and we should do our best to make that dream successful.

April’s work is influential and it is necessary. What April has done for me and my fellow classmates and even for my teachers, is so much more than what words can describe. The fact that she has devoted her life to helping others reach their full potential is awe-inspiring. We cannot wait until the day April is on our television screens and on screens around the world, like Oprah.

My plans after high school graduation include:

Attend a 4 year university, double major in Human Rights and International Relations, minor in French

Long term goals: Human rights activist, Foreign Service officer / diplomat, UN Ambassador

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