The world of education is filled with hard workers — hard-working teachers, hard-working administrators and, of course, hard-working students. In recognition of the great students and schools in our neighborhoods, The Northside Chronicle is profiling just a few of them in this weekly blog feature.

Chronicle intern Tracy Patinksi sat down with students from many Northside schools to talk about their dreams and goals. These students work hard day in and day out to make their families and teachers proud, and each one was nominated for these profiles by their teachers and principals for their accomplishments in academics, sports, arts and more.

Photo by Tracy Patinski
Photo by Tracy Patinski

“I think that education is not just something that’s there and you get a couple of years to be in school. You should put all your effort in,” says 10-year-old Asha, her face serious.

A fifth grader at Northview K-8 and a student in the school’s gifted pilot program, Asha is taking her own advice and is working hard and trying to get the most out of her time at school.

This year, she enjoys all of her classes, and science in particular. When I asked her why, she first told me that she liked playing with the chemicals, and after a pause, added “I love learning about the world and how we can change things.”

Asha’s love of learning has led to some future career plans. As of right now, she plans to either be a lawyer or a biologist, and would like to attend Harvard for college.

“I’m argumentative and I get my point across,” she said.

When I pressed her further about her interest in biology, she said, “I think that cuttlefish aren’t fish, I think they’re aliens.”

After thinking about Asha’s theory for a moment, I felt that she probably had a valid point. If you’ve never seen a cuttlefish, it looks something like a spiny squid, can change its coloring at will to blend in with its surrounds and is one of the most intelligent marine creatures.

To get to Harvard, Asha recognizes that she will have to work hard, and is grateful to have teachers that can challenge her and to whom she looks up. Always ready to talk in class, Asha usually tries to be the first one to raise her hand, no matter what the question is.

As part of her gifted coursework, Asha also takes some special interest classes, one of which studied different cultures and another where the students completed video book reviews. Asha proudly showed me her review from last year, and I watched as her smiling face appeared on screen to talk about a book she’d read. The video book reviews are stored at the school for use at special events, such as open houses for parents.

Although Asha flourishes in her science classes, she also enjoys reading and writing.

“I like writing because I can express myself and I don’t have to bottle everything up,” she said.

Currently, her favorite book is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, and she practices writing by creating her own songs.

It’s a lot of work for a fifth grader, but Asha mentions her grandmother as a great influence in her life, someone who encourages her and helps her stay motivated at school.

“She’s always there for me.”

After a long day, Asha heads home and relaxes by climbing trees, riding her skateboard, making jewelry and playing with her pet guinea pigs Rusty and Speckles. But just as her grandmother keeps an eye on her, Asha also tries to keep an eye out for her little sister, acting as a good role model even outside of school.

“I ask her everyday if I can help her. I want her to grow up like me and care about her education,” she said with a smile.