Hind Al Rashid
Imagine having never attended school until you were 14 years old. And when you did finally start school, you were in an unfamiliar country.
When Hind Al Rashid was born in Iraq, she never had the opportunity to attend school due to her physical disability. When she was 7 years old, her family had to leave Iraq due to unrest in the country, so they moved to Syria. Two years later, they were forced to flee to Kuwait.
Fast forward five more years, and Hind found herself at Hazelwood West High School starting school for the first time. Hind, who has a diagnosis of multiple disabilities and receives both physical and occupational therapy services, has shown tremendous progress in every aspect of her learning.
“Hind is the most hard-working, determined, social, kind and loveable young lady,” said her nominator Bridget Meinen, an SSD teacher at Hazelwood West High School in the Hazelwood School District. “She has taken every minute of her education extremely seriously and she helps inspire her peers to love to learn as well.”
Her determination, self-advocacy and endless hard work have helped her make great strides in a short amount of time. Although she regularly uses a wheelchair, she has been working with her physical therapist to strengthen her legs to help her walk with a walker. She’s gone from walking just a short distance to now walking laps around the school gymnasium and tracking several miles over the course of the school year. She’s also gone the extra mile by spending countless lunch periods working with her teachers on additional reading lessons.
Hind is always striving for more, as evidenced by her asking to host the school’s annual talent show. To prepare for the role, she memorized lines to introduce 21 separate acts in front of a full auditorium. She has participated in SSD’s Community-Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) program the last two years and advocated for a new location so that she could learn additional skills.
Lastly, she is working to become a U. S. citizen. She has worked diligently, studying flashcards with teachers and family in hopes of passing the rigorous test. After she graduates this year, she plans to continue her journey of learning in SSD’s Vocational Skills Program.