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    Hiba Malik: Forging a new path

    By her own account, senior Hiba Malik's foray into leadership happened overnight when she woke up one summer morning in between sophomore and junior year and decided she was going to finish high school strong.

    If you ask her, Malik spent her first two years at Freedom High School coasting by with average grades. Despite the opening of nearby John Champe at the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year, Malik originally was electing to stay at Freedom.

    That was before the fateful summer morning when she decided to make a change and become a John Champe Knight.

    “I just felt like I should go to a different school,” Malik said. "This is a completely clean slate; why not take advantage of that?”

    Malik hit the ground running at John Champe. With her peers tentative about getting involved in the new school, Malik took initiative and was elected class president her junior year. She was re-elected her senior year.

    She has taken those two years to try to instill school spirit in the fledgling Aldie school. She helped launch the school's first senior trip, an all-night grad party and other class events.

    “Two years ago I would have never expected to be in this position,” Malik said. “I've learned I really love leading people and being busy and doing a lot.”

    Malik also joined the executive committee for the school's student council association and actively participates in debate and art.

    And while the 17-year-old senior spent much of the last two years trying new things, she also made a commitment to helping others. This included volunteer activities in both Pakistan and Lebanon.

    In July 2011, Malik, a Pakistan native, traveled to Karachi for two months to visit family.

    “I was going to be there for two months so I figured why not do something that's productive,” Malik said.

    For two months, Malik volunteered at a women's jail, coordinating with the prisoners and their attorneys and organizing summer camps for the prisoners' children, who also lived at the prison.

    The following year, she traveled to Lebanon, where her aunt worked as a public health worker, to help run summer camps for Palestinian refugee children in Beirut.

    Last summer, Malik continued her volunteerism closer to home in West Virginia and the Martinsburg VA Medical Center, where she worked in the physical therapy ward.

    Next year, the aspiring physician hopes to study pre-med at a college in Virginia - she applied to most of the state's public schools - before heading off to medical school.

    One things for sure: She's open to where the wind takes her. “Change can only be good, right?"

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