Sadaf Saberi

Natalie Thompson

Gordon Bell High School Winnipeg

Winnipeg, MB

Sadaf Saberi epitomizes what it means to be a difference maker, both in her school community and the community at large, and she is one of the most inspirational students I have come across in my 10+ years as a counsellor and educator. In terms of academic achievement, the majority of Sadaf's marks are in the 90s, and she is pursuing a challenging coarse load, including both Applied and Pre-Cal Math, Chemistry, Physics (achieved a final mark of 100%) and Biology. This is all the more impressive as she is an EAL learner who arrived to Canada from Afghanistan in 2018.

She plans on pursuing a career in Engineering where she wants to focus on improving access to water for all communities, at home and abroad. Education has always been important to Sadaf - in her homeland, she created a free tutoring centre in her home for local children and especially girls. She was also a volunteer English teacher in Afghanistan, and travelled to and from school risking her own safety, for it was important to her to show other girls the power of education. In Winnipeg, Sadaf began as a volunteer youth mentor at Art City, an inner-city non-profit organization located near our school. They were so impressed with her leadership and genuine, warm presence that they offered her paid employment.

Sadaf has also volunteered with the Spence Neighbourhood Association, a local thrift store, as an interpreter and a local soup kitchen. In our school, Sadaf was one of only 20 students chosen to take part in the CBC Point of View Project. Sadaf wrote and produced a powerful piece about her homeland and this was published and was part of a local showcase. She is also part of our school's public speaking group and she achieved 1st prize for writing about the discrimination Muslim people face. In terms of creativity, Sadaf was part of a collaborative project with students and engineers from around the world - she and her friend achieved a mark of 96 for their project design, one of the top achievements of the project. In short, Sadaf is an outstanding, incredibly gifted human being.

Despite the challenges she has overcome, Sadaf exudes grace, intelligence, strength, dignity, and absolute joy. Spending time with Sadaf, you realize that you are in the presence of a young person with a great destiny ahead. Sadaf inspires me to be the best counsellor and educator I can be, and it is a privilege to support her on her journey. I hope you strongly consider her for this scholarship.

I have never met a more well-rounded individual in my life . Though Sadaf's parents don't have the funds to pay for fancy extra-curricular endeavors, that does not stop Sadaf from learning and finding ways to pursue her passions. During the pandemic, she joined an international on-line poetry forum where she shares her poetry and listens to others. She wanted to learn Mandarin so she taught herself the basics by watching videos on-line and connecting with an EA at our school once a week. She runs, does Karate, skips rope and plays badminton. She tries cooking different recipes every week, takes typing tests on-line to improve her skills, practices Graphic Design, taught herself AutoCad to prepare for her engineering studies, sews, does crotchet, embroiders, draws and paints. Her zest for life and trying new things, and creativity to find ways to pursue these interests is beyond impressive. Best of all? She does everything she takes on with a sense of curiosity, joy, and willingness to try and make mistakes. Despite some of the challenges she has and continues to face, Sadaf's resilience is to be celebrated and recognized.