As Zoya Hasan, a senior at LHS, explained, her character centers around caring for others. “I’m generally a happy person,” she immediately emphasized when defining herself. “I like spreading happiness to other people. When someone is down, I always try and brighten up their day; I try to be as nice as possible.”
For Hasan, kindness is a defining characteristic of her passions, as is helping others. In fact, this passion promptly sparked when she witnessed her grandfather’s medical struggles two years ago.
“A couple of years ago, my grandfather had a stroke, and I couldn’t really do anything about it because you can’t undo a stroke,” Hasan explained. “It was really severe. He had hemorrhaging in the brain … He was unconscious, and [our family was] just watching him on the ventilator.”
Though it was a troubling time for her as well as her family, Hasan’s grandfather survived, and this medical crisis shaped a deep passion for her, as she quickly realized just how much she values helping others.
“I just have this urge. If someone is in distress, I’m the first one to ask, ‘Oh, are you okay? Can I help?’ I just have this urge to go and help [people],” Hasan stressed.
Today, Hasan is interested in studying medicine, specifically occupational and physical therapy. She even volunteers for a free health clinic at her mosque to provide others with discounted medication that they may not have been able to receive due to insurance expenses.
Close friends of Hasan can attest to her kindness and care towards others — like Kora Costakis, a senior at LHS, and one of Hasan’s best friends.
“[Zoya] is just extremely helpful. She makes me so much happier and just brightens my mood,” Costakis said with a laugh. “I think she’ll do really well in medicine because she just makes everyone feel good.”
Costakis further noted that Hasan has an energetic and adventurous personality, especially when they’re together. One of her most positive, and, as she emphasized, funniest memories with Hasan was when “she drove me to this monument replica of the Egyptian pyramids out of nowhere. I don’t even know where it was. It’s like 45 minutes away. I had to go to work but she was just like, ‘Oh, come with me,’ and she drove me to this [monument] because she thought it was so cool.”
Hasan enjoys close relationships with her teachers as well, and is particularly close with Mrs. Laura Guiard, a French and Spanish teacher at LHS.
“When I ask questions and when I try to connect with her, she’s very open,” Mrs. Guiard noted. “I really find all of her life experiences so intriguing; she has so many connections to other cultures.”
As Hasan explained, many of her values and life lessons center around her Muslim faith and culture: “For me, [Islam] is mostly guidance between the wrong and right choice. If I have any problems, I pray to God.”
Hasan enjoys practicing and discussing her faith at Libertyville High School’s Muslim Students Association club, as they debate wide ranges of topics like Islam in American society or the toxic implications of gossiping. Hasan further noted how she feels supported at LHS as a Muslim: “I pray five times a day … [and] in the winter time, when the time changes and the day becomes shorter, the LST offers [a place for people] to come pray in the LST, because one of the prayers is in the afternoon time period. It’s really nice of them to do that.”
Mrs. Guiard emphasized how much she had witnessed Hasan grow as a student throughout the years at LHS. Mrs. Guiard further noted how Hasan’s confidence and kindness brings a lot of energy to the classroom.
“She’s always got something to say. She’s kind to everyone. She’s willing to try,” Mrs. Guiard said. “Zoya is, at the same time, bubbly and profound.”