I’m a person who wants to do everything, and I think that having access to so many things has been really important to me.
The sky is the limit for senior Aysha Zackria, an NSU University School "lifer" and National Merit Finalist who has cultivated various passions while demonstrating a true love for learning during her 14 years at USchool. She is mindful and enthusiastic about seizing every opportunity that is presented to her because she knows she can handle doing so. "I'm a person who wants to do everything, and I think that having access to so many things has been really important to me," Zackria said. "USchool is the land of opportunity; there's so much to do here."
Zackria plays an active role in the Writing Fellows club and currently serves as its program coordinator, using her strength as a writer to help fellows improve their tutoring skills. Through this club, Zackria helped submit a research grant proposal centered on rubric-based peer tutoring to create a more purposeful approach for tutors and provide them with a structured end goal for their students. Zackria's penchant for English also manifests in her position as co-editor-in-chief of the Literary Magazine and as the president of the Book Club. As president, she plans on starting a prison book collective, which would involve loaning or donating books collected in drives to people in prison. Her involvement with the Book Club has allowed her to work closely with its sponsor – Upper School English teacher, Ms. Ann Sellers. Zackria regards Sellers as one of her role models who has challenged her to focus on the development of unique ideas as opposed to the nuances of writing and grammar. "If you can improve the way you think, you improve the way you live," Zackria said.
Zackria's passion for English and the arts collide with the critiques she writes for the Cappies, a local writing and awards program that trains high school theatre and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders. Furthermore, as a talented bass player, actress, playwright, and vocalist, Zackria currently serves as the vice president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society and served as the treasurer last year. She is also actively involved in the International Thespian Society as the senior representative of District 13. She has received ratings of superior and excellent for her performances in various USchool musicals and one act plays and also devotes her time and musical talents to volunteering at other schools in need of assistance. At the moment, a script Zackria wrote is being produced into a radio play on the Podcast app.
One of Zackria's proudest moments as a USchool student, and the most challenging, was learning the musical score for our recent production of Tuck Everlasting, which involved five months of rigorous practice. In years prior, students would play on top of a track, but this performance solely had live music. "To be able to play an unedited Broadway score and have it sound good and play the right notes with ridiculous time signatures changes and keys with seven flats was a really big source of pride for me," Zackria said. I'm going to talk about this for the rest of my life. I don't feel like I'll ever encounter something that difficult musically."
As a sophomore, Zackria was recognized as an NSU University School Outstanding Citizen Scholar for being a self-motivated student who demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and her school community. She also received the Outstanding English Scholar Award freshman year as well as the Sewanee Book Award junior year. Her leadership style manifests in the form of collaboration and motivating others to reach their potential both in her artistic involvement and her STEM-related interests like Mu Alpha Theta. She credits her parents for shaping her into the person she is today. "All my passion comes from my parents," Zackria said. "Both are strong and bold in their respective industries and spheres of influence."
Zackria plans on majoring in music engineering in college to combine her longtime passions for the arts and sciences and is interested in exploring a minor in dramaturgy, which combines history, theatre, and English. "I figured that would cover all my bases," she said. Although she has a perfect ACT score and has her eyes on small liberal arts colleges in the northeast that have a similar personalized environment as USchool does, she prefers not to be confined to a specific field, mold, or stereotype. Instead, she envisions who she wants to be in the future – a lifelong learner who exudes zeal, innovation, and kindness.