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Celebrating Different Cultures

Safa ChoudrySafa Choudry says she found a school where she could celebrate diverse cultures, particularly her own. 

“Southwest is a very diverse school compared with the rest of the schools in the area,” said Safa. “They are inclusive and there are a lot of clubs for various cultures.” 

One of those clubs was the Muslim Student Association, and Safa eventually became president, working to ensure she and other Muslim students could learn and worship comfortably in the school.

“We pray five times a day, and some of those prayers fall during school hours,” she explained. “Before they had to find a classroom to make space and it wasn’t very comfortable. I worked with our world history teacher, Mr. Wesney, who helped us open the wrestling room. It has padded floors, a wider space, and is quieter than other parts of the school. We moved from five students worshipping to 30 or 40 during prayer time.”

“Safa was instrumental in helping to reestablish the Muslim Student Association after the challenges of COVID,” said Dennis Wesney, social studies teacher at Southwest. “Her organizational skills were essential in helping to grow the club and increase the involvement of students in prayer on Fridays. She is approachable and willing to sit down and reflect on problems and how to find solutions. She also has a passion and concern for others and that is consistent in her actions and willingness to volunteer.”

Safa also helped start a multicultural club with some of her friends. The club started what is now an annual multicultural event for the school. 

“Each culture has its own stall with clothes, music, food, and students are able to teach others about their culture,” said Safa.

Safa challenged herself to take honors and AP courses throughout her four years at Southwest, as well as dual enrollment courses through GTCC.

“I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could take classes in a different way,” she said. “I wanted to study subjects I wasn’t comfortable with before, and I was able to push myself. With some classes online or hybrid, I could make time for classes that weren’t on a set schedule and find a way to get everything done on a schedule that worked for me.”

Next year, Safa is considering attending either UNC-Greensboro or GTCC to explore different careers.