Get to Know the Scholarship Awardees (Part 5): Rahma Hassan
Rahma is a recent graduate from Kearny High School of Digital Media and Design at San Diego Unified School District. She has recently completed work experience with CEO Lavada Jennings of House of Restoration Community Connection Inc. Rahma plans to continue her education by studying interior design at the Art Institute of Orange County in the fall.
Linked Learning Alliance: Tell us a bit about yourself. In your application you said that you were on your school’s JROTC step team? How was that experience?
Rahma Hassan: I joined the step team my freshman year in high school. I was was looking for something that will get me involved with the school and a counselor [recommended] that I try it out. It was the first group I ever joined in high school. I made new friends and it was a really cool experience.
You also mentioned that you have nine other brothers and sisters. Where are you ranked among your siblings?
Well out of 10 I’m number nine. There’s one more after me and he’s now a junior in high school.
So you’re one of the youngest. How has your education experience differed from your siblings?
I think what [makes me] stand out from everyone is that I actually want to go further than community college. I wanted go straight into [a] four year [degree] and they’re all rooting for me! [My siblings] did go to college — most of them did community college or went out of state. Right now we have two siblings attending Mesa Community College.
Then there’s [my younger brother in] junior in high school who’s also at Kearny High’s Digital Media and Design school. He’s going to a four-year [degree] as well, hopefully.
You’re going to the Art Institute of Orange County in the fall to study interior design. Where did your interest in interior design come from?
It’s something I’ve been passionate about my whole life. I had the opportunity to take an [interior design 101] class at Mesa College when I graduated six months early. It opened my eyes and made me realize that this is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life.
The theme of your high school is digital media and design. Did your experience there help lead you to interior design?
Not exactly the digital media area; more the way the school does their teaching, actually. Being a project-based learning school, every year, we had a project to work with. We had real-life clients that connected us into the community. That kind of practice really will improve my work in interior design in my future.
Looking back, was there something you would’ve liked to change about your experience at Kearny?
I wish I had realized how important high school was as soon as I entered. I didn’t really care for grades or school as much, to be completely honest, until my junior year. And that’s what’s really affected my overall GPA. Thinking back I wish I had someone who had warned me ahead of time.
But I’m glad that I had my staff and team at Kearny high that caught me by my junior year and told me: “hey this is high school; you’re going to have to step it up; it’s almost the end; you got to get your grades up.” And that’s exactly what I did.
One of the work-based learning experiences you had was working with Lavada Jennings of House of Restoration Community Connection Inc. How did that come about?
During the first three years, [the school] kept us in groups and teams to work with clients. But by our senior year we had the opportunity and freedom of working with our own clients and doing our own projects. I had told our guidance counselor I wanted to work with someone who not just rebuilds women, but brings them back to who they are after their children are stripped away from them. It’s something my mother went through and I wanted to understand deeply and hear different stories.
So [my counselor] connected me to Ms. Lovetta Jennings who works with HOFRCC, the House of Restoration Community Centre. And that’s exactly what [Ms. Jenning does]. She rebuilds women and brings restoration to their lives. She helps them get their children back, get cleaned off from drug addiction, and other things like that.
This sounds like something that was deeply personal. What did you get out of it?
It was a good life experience. But also, something that will help me with my interior design is just watching Ms. Lovetta be independent and seeing how she runs her organization, what she does, how she worked with us, and gave us the time. It’s something that I want to do as well in my future.
Well, thank you so much for chatting with us Rahma. All the best studying interior design at the art institute!