Bright Futures: Nederland’s Alani strives for excellence

Published 1:08 pm Tuesday, October 4, 2016

NEDERLAND — Nederland High School senior Haya Alani is a life long learner striving to better herself and understands the sacrifices her parents made to make her future bright.

The Syrian-American student and her family previously lived in Saudi Arabia and came to the U.S. when she was in the fifth grade.

She remembers coming to school not knowing the English language. Her mother, who at that time knew some English, helped her.

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“I worried, how am I going to communicate,” Alani said while seated in the library at her high school. “My mom bought books and we read together. I’d take AR (Accelerated Reading) tests and took it step by step.”

Today Alani has not only the command of her native Arabic tongue but English and Spanish.

She’s a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish National Honor Society, president of the Key Club, takes part in University Interscholastic League academics in math; her best subject, she said, and is an officer in TNT, or Terrific Nederland Teens.

TNT is a club for juniors and seniors at the school dedicated to spreading alcohol and drug awareness to others.

Alani’s had to juggle her course load and drop HOSA in order to take calculus. She is in advanced placement classes and also taking a college course this year.

In addition, she has a 4.0 grade point average and is ranked in the top of her class.

Johnna Westbrook, senior class counselor, praised Alani for her hard work.

“Haya is an outstanding student with extraordinary work ethic,” Westbrook said. “She has accomplished so many things but always remains kind and humble. I look forward to seeing how she continues to make her mark on our world.”

Alani’s motivation for success comes from her desire to learn new things and become better.

“Both my parents are dentists and are now working on obtaining their degrees here in the U.S. They sacrificed a lot for me and my brother,” Alani said.

She has chosen to follow in her parent’s footsteps and go into the dental field — a career that has interested her since she was around 11 years old.

Alani also loves to read.

“It’s something I picked up when I came here,” she said. “If it’s interesting, I’ll read it.”

Haya Alani is the daughter of Imad Alani and Nada Abdallah.

Mary Meaux: 409-721-2429

Twitter: @MaryMeauxPANews