Meet Quds, an eighth grade student in Jerusalem. She loves biology and has been a part of the Hand in Hand community since kindergarten.
Introduce yourself, what’s your name? How old are you? How long have you been at Hand in Hand?
Quds: My name is Quds I’m 13 years old, I’m in eighth grade and I’m originally from the North. I came to Hand in Hand in kindergarten, so I’ve been here for 10 years. So I haven’t been in any other school. I have friends from other schools, Arabs and Jews, and people from different countries. I feel, I don’t want to say weird, I’d rather say special because it’s like, when an Arab kid comes with their side, and a Jewish kid comes with their side, I feel like I can connect them together. I can show them each others perspectives and to help them get to know each. Basically I can be “the glue”.
What do you think you got from this school that is unique to Hand in Hand?
Quds: This school gave me knowledge not just in an academic way but also in my life. It serves me in more ways than I could ever imagine. A lot of people say that, “when you come to this school your identity will be deleted and they’ll build a whole different identity!” But they don’t do that. You actually build and design and add to your identity. Nothing is deleted or changed. You add more knowledge and things that help you in your life. The school doesn’t erase the differences, they erase the stereotypes. The differences are clear. And we know them, we discuss them, we talk about them, we don’t ignore them. If you ignore something, you don’t make it disappear. So we talk about everything.
The whole idea of the school itself is different and special.
What are some things you’re passionate about?
Quds: I’m passionate about many things, but I’m especially passionate about animal rights. That’s one of my “top things”. And it really disturbs me when someone hurts an animal. It really hurts my feelings. I’m also passionate about discovering things, I really love science and biology. I think I want to become a surgeon, but not because my parents tell me it’s a good profession, it’s because I like biology and I like discovering things about the body and helping people. I look at a person and I’m amazed: I see skin, bones, cells, eyes, it’s so cool and interesting.
What sorts of experiences have you had at Hand in Hand that have made you think and grow?
Quds: This school is like life. You learn things in the classroom, but also from other people. I discovered through the years. When we’re working and learning at school we’re learning many things, but when we hang out with friends, maybe they could teach me things that I don’t already know. It’s the catch in life, you can learn something from everyone, not just learning in the classroom.
What would you want people to know about this school?
Quds: What I want people in the world to know is not specific about Hand in Hand, but it’s about people in general, people we meet everyday. Please, it’s a big request: please do not judge people. If you want to say something to someone, get to know them, before you judge them or say something, or spread rumors about them. Meet them. Ask them if you have a question. I think that a very big part of my personality was built here. I do not know what would have happened if I learned in another school, because I was here from such a young age, but I know this school gave me a lot. And if I look at the years now, I’m thankful that I know so many more things, and I think a lot of them were because of my experience at Hand in Hand.