Scholar of the Week
Ashari Harris of Petersburg High School
By Janeal Downs
One thing Ashari Harris hates to see, illness is people hurting or unable to afford proper healthcare so they do not have to hurt. “In my mind, look when I think of one wish, it would be that there is a cure to heal everyone’s health problems,” she wrote in an essay. “But in the real world, we know that won’t happen any time soon.” Although she cannot heal everybody, Ashari sure wants to try to help as many people as she can.
As early as 13 or 14, she knew she wanted to go into the health and medical field. Although she has many interests and passions, Ashari decided to pursue a career as a physical therapist. One of her goals as a health professional is to be a resource for people who are less fortunate in ways that relate to their health. “There are many in my inner circle who question my passion, so I want to prove them wrong and show everyone that I am serious about making a positive transformation in this world,” she stated. With the negative issues that currently affect the medical field, Ashari wants to be remembered for helping to improve the system. One way she hopes to do this is by working her way up to becoming the head of a medical facility.
Currently a senior in high school, with a 4.03 GPA, her top colleges of choice are Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. and Hampton University. She was attracted to ODU because of the school’s physical therapy program; JMU because of the school’s attractive campus; and Hampton because she would enjoy the opportunity to attend a historical university. One lesson she will take with her from high school to college is that “procrastinators never prosper.” In the times when she has suffered from procrastination, Ashari thanks her mother, one of her biggest inspirations, for pushing her daily. With the constant encouragement, Ashari’s mother also is an inspiration in the way she works because she is always willing to give her last to support others.
Like her mother, Ashari likes to give back and does this through community service. One main place she volunteers at is the Petersburg Public Library. She helps children find books; helps children with their reading; she puts up books; and she helps maintain the new library. At school, she is a member of the National Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America and she is the floor co-captain of her cheerleading squad. In fact, cheerleading, along with working and going to the mall, is her favorite thing to do in her spare time. “I get to work with other girls that have a passion about cheering,” Ashari said. “They have a future, they all want to see everybody make it, everybody lifts each other up, (and) it’s just fun.”
Ashari believes that one of the most thought-provoking questions teenagers are asked is what they are passionate about in life. She has passion for many things, but most importantly the health of her family and community. With aspirations to work as a health professional, the main thing Ashari would like for the community to know about her is, “I can do it and I will.”