Student Spotlight: Malak



In our "Student Spotlight" series we go out and interview some of the kids we work with. We're proud of our students and their many talents. They teach us just as much as we teach them.

We start off the series with Malak. She's competing in the upcoming Academic Pentathlon, and she shines as a team leader in our groups. Hear what she thinks of learning, some of her unique talents, and her thoughts about school.

[John] Hey Malak.


So, let’s just go ahead and find out more about you. How would you describe yourself?

So I think that I’m always on task; I have everything always together. I’m always organized. I also enjoy sports.

What sports?




Favorite Team?

I honestly don’t care about watching soccer-- I just play it. But, I like Ronaldo. (giggles)

Yeah. I’ve heard that before. Sounds like a lot of the kids love him. What things do you do to stay organized? You mentioned that’s a word you would use to describe yourself.

I mean, in my free time, I’m always organizing my notes, making my binder, or something like that. I always do my homework right when I get home. I don’t push it to the side. And I always have a schedule. I always keep a schedule of my projects and stuff like that. Like today I’m doing this, or today I’m doing that.

How do you keep your schedule usually?

I have this thing in my room where I just put it up on there, and it tells me what I do every day. So I’ll put things up on there, and I’ll do them.

Nice. Have you heard of Bullet Journaling?


I’d check it out. It’s a pretty easy way to stay organized and on task. Especially if you’ve got a lot of things or tend to get distracted like me. I nerd out on that stuff...Anyways, any other things you do in your free time other than organizing and playing soccer?

Umm, I do like to draw sometimes. I dunno, I just draw, like, anything that comes to my mind. I’ll draw-- I like to do things like shading, and coloring, and things like that. And when I get the chance, I’ll paint sometimes.


Yeah I have a good painting at home, but it’s not my best.

Malak Painting.JPG

Oh very nice! Anything else you do in your free time?

I also like to read a lot.

What are some of your favorite books?

I usually like to read books about life...not really olden days but, like, mysteries, and things about modern day stuff. And sometimes I like reading Harry Potter. That’s like the older book I like. Harry Potter mainly for the adventures and stuff. Oh, and Maze Runner.

Oh yeah Harry Potter is good. And I think they made a movie about Maze Runner.

Yup, it came out a few weeks ago.

Did you read the Hunger Games then?

Yeah, I did. But those came out a while ago. Those books came out when I was, like, in second grade.

Ah, I feel old. What are some of your favorite subjects in school?

Math is the easiest for me. But, I would say I like writing essays-- like narrative stories. I like using my imagination with those. Math is just fun. It’s not hard for me, but when it gets hard I find my way.

Interesting. What do you do when you don’t understand something in math?

So, I either go to my teacher, or I go to a website my teacher has that gives you examples and answers.

Kinda like Khan Academy?

Yeah, but more in-depth.

Wow nice. What do you like about writing?

I like narratives. I like to use my imagination to make things. And then I like searching up words that I never knew and put it in the story, and it makes it feel more mature with those harder words. I’ll put them in it. It’s fun and I’ll go and switch them up and find all these new words I never knew.

Haha. I did that too. I can relate to you liking writing. Math though, not so much. I didn’t like it so much. What do you like about Math?

It’s just easy for me. I’m not good at memorizing stuff for something like Science. It’s just fun going through each question. I also like teaching Math to my friends. It’s fun when I help them.

What would you say then are some of your least favorites?

Usually history. I can’t concentrate on what she’s saying, no matter how hard I try. On test day I can’t remember a thing. I’m just not interested by it. But sometimes there are fun stories that are more interesting. But I’m usually either fully interested, or not.

Yeah, it amazes me how different those history books are from back when I was growing up.

I feel like with Math, I also wonder, like, what’s the point if it? Obviously I get, like, things like adding and multiplying and dividing, but when it comes to these things like variables, and putting variables on one side, and distributive property-- “why am I doing this?” I don’t get it. I mean, I’ll do them, but I don’t get the point of them.

Haha, I mean I guess it depends on what you want to do with it in the future. Some people end up using it. My dad uses Math every day as an Engineer. I mean, I love Engineering, but hate Math.

Yeah, but even as a teacher, you’re teaching it, and you gotta ask yourself, “what’s the point of it?” But I just have to do it anyway.

Good question. What do you see yourself doing in the future?

So my dad always told me, because he’s a doctor, “OK, doctor this, doctor that…” So, I do want to become a doctor, I just don’t know which kind. Like, I don’t want to become a surgeon-- my dad does that but I don’t...want to. But, I want to go deeper into something like cancer.

That’s very cool.

Or I want to become a family doctor, or a children’s doctor. I don’t know which one.

Working with kids is cool. Do you see yourself doing anything related to your passions?

Maybe soccer. I just don’t want it to take up all of my time.

Definitely. What would you say are some of your greatest talents?

I would say leading. I’m always being a leader, telling people, “OK, we need to get this done.” Getting things organized. And I always like to have fun but...I always stay on task.

Always on the right path.


You see yourself becoming president?

Haha, no. I mean I could, but I don’t want to. It’s not what I want to do.

Fair enough. If you could change one thing about school, what would that be?


No homework?

Yes. Homework has always bothered me. I feel like I already get the concept and then we do it a hundred times, and I get so annoyed, but...we still have to. I mean, I guess they want us to work, but we already do that in class.

That sounds like you catch onto things quickly.

Yeah, that’s why we have honors for classes.

Oh cool. Then, if you didn’t have homework, what would you do with all that free time?

As I grow up, my mom has always taught me to just read. So that, when outside of class, I can just be ahead, and when in class, I can actually participate and answer questions. In class I never like concentrating. So she always teaches me to read ahead.

Well that's a great tip. Perfect timing because it looks like y'all are headed home. Thanks Malak!

Yeah, no problem!

John Bunyi