Schoolcraft dual-enrolled student dedicates life to service
BY CASEY SAMYN AND ELIZABETH CHAPA
CAMPUS LIFE EDITOR AND ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
For millions of high school seniors, the last year of high school means pursuing the college of one’s choice, looking forward to graduation and planning for future careers. However, for Novi High School student, Ashi Arora, her senior year has been different then the norm.
Arora has an interesting story to tell. She has been dual-enrolled in Novi Public Schools and Schoolcraft College since 2010 as an eighth grader when she enrolled in ENG 055.
At 17 years old, she is well on her way to pursuing a career in biological sciences. Currently, Arora is working for an associates degree and taking Nutrition and Child Psychology and has plans to dedicate her life to serving others.
“It’s [community service] something that defines who I am. I don’t think I’d ever be the person who I am if I hadn’t volunteered,” said Arora. “I can admit that, at first, it was for the résumé and was for the credit, but when you start it, you can’t stop. I think that just shows how empowering and meaningful community service is.”
Volunteering with numerous community outreach programs, Arora has helped with the Red Wagon Early Literacy Project and the Share the Joy Project, both benefiting low-income families in Wayne County. She also aspires to contribute to the revitalization of Detroit.
Arora is co-president of the Asian Student Association (ASA) and Membership Chair of the College Project for Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). In addition, she has had several personal accomplishments, such as graduating from the Scholars Honors Program in 2014.
However, some of her goals have yet to be reached. Arora’s main goal throughout high school was with a program she started called the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Science Fair, or simply the STEM Science Fair, at the Academy of the Americas, a dual immersion bilingual school, located in a neighborhood right outside of Mexican Town in Detroit.
With her program, Arora teaches students how interesting science can be. Arora received a grant from the Youth Services of America to continue and expand her program in Detroit. She worked with past commissioner for the city of Livonia John Dalton and past Congressman Kerry Bentivolio to expand her program and raise awareness.
Her Novi High School Spanish teacher, Stacey Schaefer, has inspired her to move out of her comfort zone with other programs, like gardening at the Academy of the Americas. Arora is starting a system where the students from Novi High School present their projects to younger kids, like a tutoring system, which helps them apply what they have learned.
“Ashi has matured into a confident, caring, empathetic and a motivated student. Her seriousness of purpose combined with her desire to bring a positive change in the world will aid her in her future endeavors,” said Professor Anna Maheshwari, head of English Department at Schoolcraft College.
Arora looks up to Maheshwari, who has been one of her mentors since sixth grade and is largely involved with the Coins to Change program and the ASA, because of her compassionate and dedicated nature.
“She [Maheshwari] taught me that you don’t do it for the résumé, you don’t do it for the entitlement of something, you don’t do it for the credit, but you do it for the pure joy of it,” said Arora. “When you give back to your community, you will get it back in tenfold.”
As the current ambassador for the state of Michigan for the Youth Services of America, which gives those interested several chances to volunteer, Arora is fulfilling her role as a citizen. In the past, she has received several awards coming out of Novi, Detroit and the state of Michigan.
“On Saturdays she’ll go to St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen, and she’ll volunteer weekly at the ER at Providence Hospital. She has the walking club at Waldenwood Senior Center and goes to her Indian church and prays every day,” said Arora’s mother, Karuna Arora. “She’s very empathetic, sensitive and grateful for her friends. She’s learned how to be humble even with all of her achievements. Truly, I feel like it was Elizabeth [Machniak, Administrative Assistant for the Student Activities Office] and Todd [Stowell, Student Activities Director] who have been really helpful for her.”
Arora will eventually transfer to a four year university and hopes to apply her experience and knowledge to become a physician scientist, where she would take care of patients, understand their diseases and try to find cures through research. Until then, she will continue her journey as a student and global citizen, all while giving back.