Announcing our 2012 Scholarship Recipient—Zobia Chunara


My name is Zobia Chunara, and I will be a freshman at Yale University this fall. Over the past four years at Northside College Preparatory, I have made high school my own by doing what I wanted to do: play badminton, report for the school newspaper, and give back to my community. Over time, I learned that to be a leader, I first needed to find what I was passionate about, and that would motivate me to push the boundaries and extend my efforts from my school to the community. My ability to effect change has been demonstrated through my enthusiasm for the school paper and volunteering in my community.

As editor-in-chief of my school paper, I shared my passion for journalism with my peers, and encouraged members on my staff to become reporters for The Mash, a Chicago Tribune high school newspaper. My staff and I visited the Associated Press twice a year and continuously pursued investigative stories in our community, such as contacting Mayor Rahm Emanuel about longer school day conflicts in Chicago Public Schools, highlighting students who fundraise money for a teacher who had a brain hemorrhage, and shedding light on accusations against Northside staff for stealing student funds. My passion for journalism not only inspired my reporters to learn about the community and relate it back to Northside; it also allowed students and faculty members to read about, learn, and participate in community efforts and even worldwide efforts.

Pursuing my dedication to volunteering allowed me to strengthen the bond between my school and my community. I have completed over 650 service hours by tutoring elementary school students in Spanish at Hibbard Elementary School, organizing blood drives for Red Cross Club, and participating in a program that helps people with Alzheimer’s disease. I especially love volunteering at Misericordia, a community for individuals with mental disabilities. When I volunteer there, I feel that I give those I interact with a greater feeling of independence. These experiences not only allowed me to pursue my interest in medicine but also to pursue my passion for volunteering and inspired me to expose other students to giving back. I enlisted Northside’s Red Cross Club and National Honors Society to set at least ten dates when we all visited Hibbard and Misericordia. By volunteering, I and my peers learned how others rely on us, which in turn enforced our understanding of the importance of responsibility and commitment.

Football Coach Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” My dedication to organizations and teams provided me with the opportunity to interact with remarkable people, nurture my interests, and expand my contributions to my community, bridging the gap between my school and the community. As I mature, I know my passions will evolve, but I am confident that one part of my identity will remain the same — my dedication to what I care about. It is the basis of who I am.

Zobia Chunara