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VOLUME

2, ISSUE

1 – APRIL

2008

PAGE

14

Youth Grounded in

Druze Roots

By Cyrus Toulabi

Is a sixteen year old young man currently a junior in high friends and plans to pursue film making in college.

school. He enjoys passing time with family and Cyrus lives in the Chicago area with his family.

T

he junior year of high school

is

notorious

for

its

challenges

and

expectations.

From

beginning to look at colleges to taking four-hour standardize tests like the ACTs to teachers who believe that adding to your homework load is a pleasurable activity, you are asked of a lot more than you ever have been before. One of which is determining your own future. At as young as sixteen years-old, you are asked to decide what you want to do with your life. However, how can you decide your future while, as every other teenager does, you are still trying to figure out who you are right now? This hits even closer to home to a child of Middle Eastern ancestry.

As soon as I walked through the doors of my high school, I was asked to plan out the next four years of my life. As all other freshmen, I did as I was told and created a four-year plan that would be perfect for my future. For example, if you are planning on going into a science related profession, it is recommended to fill your next four years with tons-and-tons of science and math classes. Of course, with my family background, I was raised to believe that being a doctor was what I was meant to be. As much as I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life, the truth is, I had no idea. I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t deviated from that plan at all since I wrote it.

NATAS, also known as a Student Emmy. In April, I was told that I won two Chicago/Midwest awards for the writing category and the arts and entertainment category. This was an accomplishment that has never been achieved before. Not only had I learned this, but I was also told that I had won the national award for arts and entertainment as well. I was ecstatic. After accepting the award in New took a chance that most people would never take. I began to think, What do I have to offer? I immediately thought of my out-going determination. personality and my I attribute these two qualities to growing up parents’ Middle Eastern learning values my and regularly attending ADS conventions– where if you have attended, you know that if you don’t have these traits, All I know is that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today, a healthy mix of American custom with Middle Eastern, without the help of my parents and my culture. you’re likely to disappear and become just

another flower in the flower patch. Additionally, I also thought of another quality — my love of television.

York City and Chicago, I returned back to school and to a semi-normal life.

Just like that, I thought of the idea to make a series that reviews television shows that would air weekly at my school during the daily video announcements. Immediately, I contacted the teachers in charge and started this ambitious project by writing a script, starring-in, filming, and editing my first episode to air—all in a matter of three days.

Soon, the episodes began to roll-out week after week during the school year. In January of last year, the teachers in charge of the media center and the daily

announcements approached me about a national

competition

for

students,

and

Currently, I wish to pursue a career in film making, but maybe in a few months that will change. All I know is that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today, a healthy mix of American custom with Middle Eastern, without the help of my parents and my culture.

My parents, as many parents of the Druze faith, were able to assimilate our family into the American culture, without losing theirs. Nearly every summer, we fly to the ADS National Convention and have the time of our lives being around people with similar backgrounds, including family and friends. And most breaks from school, you can find us in Florida, spending every day with family, no matter how distant on the family tree they may reside.

Unfortunately, since I had thought I knew exactly what I needed to do in high school to reach my future profession of choice, I left no room for other distracting” opportunities. Realizing this mistake as my first year in high school came to an end, I walked into my sophomore year with a new philosophy of “taking the bull by the horns” and living life moment-to-moment. Through this, I

they

were

interested

in

entering

my

series in

the

competition. The award for this competition is known as The National Student Television Award for Excellence by the

Whether I be among the Druze in Lebanon or among my family and friends here, I know that I will never lose the values and customs instilled in my heart from an out-going personality that the ADS helps build through frequent social gatherings, to a determination and a thirst for success as our ancestors have had before us.

“HAPPINESS IS IN THE VICTORY OVER IGNORANCE RATHER THAN KNOWING MORE THINGS.”

Youth Perspectives

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