Leaders at small schools work around obstaclesWritten by Aya Khalil | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a leader at a small school brings its own set of challenges. But Sameh Zarour and Mohammad Elnoory are motivated and doing their best to cater to the student body.
Zarour is a senior and vice president of student council at Toledo Islamic Academy (TIA). Elnoory is a junior and president of council. Last year, they held the opposite positions. Zarour’s senior class has a total of three people, while Elnoory’s class has a total of 10. The middle and high schools have a total of 60 students.
“There are not that many activities so it’s hard to reach out to a lot of numbers,” Elnoory said. “The advantage is because it’s so little; the kids in your class almost become your family … not the typical ties you see at schools.”
“I observed TIA a lot just to see how the student-teacher relationship went,” he said. … “I sat back and observed how things were conducted at TIA. I came to the conclusion that students were not given that much freedom of choice. When you don’t have that, problems occur. When I wanted to run for president, I knew that kids aren’t scared to come up to me.”
Elnoory and Zarour started a Red Cross club this year and are planning a soccer tournament in the community. They also started a school lunch program.
“Over the years, sometimes you see leaders and notice their mistakes,” Zarour said. “My fellow students, for example, I try to give them what they wanted, not what I wanted. A leader isn’t someone who isn’t position-conscience”.
Their budget is also a struggle. They were left with less than $20 when they began their positions. One change this school year is that their adviser has to “approve” of their activities beforehand.
“It’s hard for me personally,” Zarour said. “When I was president last year, it was just us: the council board, two boys and two girls. We never have the chance to prove ourselves, but so many people have potential.”
Elnoory said they also struggle with criticism from older people.
“Sometimes it’s out of our hands, but we try our best … The question should be what can we do, not what have we done. You get criticized lot. It’s hard.”
Elnoory and Zarour both plan on attending the University of Michigan to study pre-med/biology.
If Elnoory was mayor of Toledo, he would establish a community where everyone depends on one another.
“I’d work on bringing the community together. You’re always going to need help in everything you do and you can’t do everything as ones.”
Zarour said he would like to provide more jobs.
“Jobs are becoming worse; the economy is going down,” he said. “Only certain people get hurt. I would go down and get to know people, find things, take a walk, look at the differences between some parts and other parts [of town].”