After only six months, Maryam Farooq has made a bigger impact on her high school than most students make in four years, said her principal.
Farooq, 15, began work with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group focused on anti-bullying and anti-hate awareness and education, when she was in the eighth grade. She worked on bringing ADL’s program, No Place for Hate, first to her middle school, and now to the Queens High School for Sciences at York College (QHSSYC).
“I saw what was going on around me, I saw friends hurting themselves,” said Farooq. “People don’t have the resources to help themselves; once I was given the resource [the ADL], I ran with it.”
Farooq successfully secured a grant from the ADL to train 20 QHSSYC students to be peer trainers, focusing on anti-bullying and conducting anti-bias workshops.
“She’s the most mature freshman that I’ve ever met,” said her principal, David Marmor. “She is the most conscientious, the most socially-aware, the most concerned about her peers.”
For her dedication to the ADL’s mission and leadership within her school, Farooq has received the Alexander Bodini Prize for Diversity as well as the Hasbro Community Action Hero award, and was also recognized on the White House blog.
“Seeing that people saw my effort and it was rewarded motivated me even more,” she said. “I first thought it was just someone’s duty to take charge, but to see that people recognize my efforts, it makes me not want to stop working.”
Outside of her hard work with the ADL, the Bellerose native enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and baking. She’s very focused on school, and is interested in biology. In the future, she plans to go into the medical field, possibly as a doctor.
For now, she plans on continuing her work with the ADL and No Place for Hate. She said that she hopes to expand the program, and bring bullying awareness to its highest level.