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Hart High's top grad has political plans

Posted: June 2, 2008 4:08 p.m.
Updated: August 3, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Waseem Salahi is the top graduate of Hart High School and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall. Waseem Salahi is the top graduate of Hart High School and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall.
Waseem Salahi is the top graduate of Hart High School and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall.
As the editor of The Smoke Signal, Hart High School's student newspaper, Waseem Salahi stayed involved in student events during his senior year, but at the same time managed to earn the highest GPA at his school.

The Signal asked the top graduates at each of the six Hart District high schools questions about their current successes and their future goals, and here are Waseem's answers.

(1) What is the secret to your academic success?
I really don't think I'm qualified to advise other students how to be successful. My work ethic isn't admirable, though my class rank can deceive people into thinking it is. I have had trouble really defining what success means to me. I can do things for myself because I was born that way - to be able to learn quickly without much trouble. The only time I've ever felt that I've achieved any success is when I am able to teach others, because I feel like I am really utilizing any talent I may have been lucky enough to attain for the good of my friends, rather than simply for myself.

(2) What person has been a role model, or has inspired you, during your high school years?
I've admired my parents for immigrating here (from Syria) and becoming successful in a place so far away from home. It has allowed me to appreciate their work ethic, which has provided me with many resources that gear me toward a productive future.

(3) What activities, clubs or organizations have you been involved with the past four years?
Ever since I joined journalism at the end of my freshman year, I have been incredibly passionate about the concept of media and the goals that certain networks or publications attempt to achieve. It has allowed me to reshape my view of the world and realize how fluid perception is - how an individual's beliefs can be changed by a change in the media's agenda. It has also made me a strong advocate for free speech and open dialog.

(4) What are your plans and goals for the future?
I'm scheduled to attend U.C. Berkeley this upcoming fall. I'm both excited and nervous to experience the shift in atmosphere. I think I will adapt well. In the future, I see myself working in some sort of public office. I am actually considering running for senator or congressman when I am old enough, so I guess I can utilize this time to gain some free campaign coverage: Vote for me!

(5) What do you feel is the most important quality your generation has to offer society?
We like our cars fast and our coffee shops open. We are a generation of instant gratification, as some have said. I think that since we have been conditioned to be impulsive, we will also be forced to find new ways to satisfy instant needs by further advancing technology to realms unheard of by people only decades ago.

(6) What do you think are the biggest challenges your generation will face?
I think some of the worst challenges we will face are the influences of the "role models" of our previous generations - like Idaho Senator Larry Craig, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and President George W.
Bush. It's too bad natural selection isn't as reliable as my biology teacher said it would be.


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