Harneet Singh, 9
Q: COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way, so what’s something that has been getting you through?
A: I’ve picked up a lot of new books over quarantine, like Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming,’ and I’ve been practicing a lot of piano. I started playing the piano when I was 6 years old.
Q: Do you play any other musical instruments?
A: On Saturdays, I go to a religious school, where I learn how to play an instrument, called the dilruba. I also play the violin for the [Rock Ridge] orchestra.
Q: Tell me more about this religious school.
A: GAISS is a religious education school that I have been going to since I was three. It helped me learn more about my culture because it taught me the history and language [of my religion], Punjabi, which is not a common opportunity … I have one class, but it is mostly volunteering. Volunteering makes me feel happy because I feel like I’m giving back to the community and it’s always nice to help someone. It’s cool to learn more about my heritage and background and meet a lot of awesome friends along the way … [The best part is] Meeting up with people who have the same background as you because you can relate to a lot of issues that you may not be able to with others.
Q: What current event are you most passionate about?
A: There’s obviously a lot going on right now, but the one [current event] I’m most passionate about is climate change because it’s going to affect our generation and the future generations that follow us. There may be a clear stream somewhere, but after a couple of years of humans living there it’ll be all murky, and the same thing is probably going to happen to ‘natural wonders.’ This could potentially lead to the end of humanity and living species on Earth as we know it.
Q: Who would you say inspires you the most to help spread the word and make better decisions for the environment?
A: Leonardo DiCaprio, because he uses his platform to amplify climate change and the health of the Earth. There’s nothing about himself on his platforms and he uses it to put out this message to change before it is too late.
Q: What career path do you hope to pursue after high school?
A: STEM is really interesting to me. I started to learn how to code over quarantine and I thought it was really fun and interesting. My older brother is also pursuing cybersecurity at the University of Virginia, so that’s probably a big reason why I want to do it.
Q: What makes you unique?
A: I am very ambitious because there is a lot that I want to get done and I try my best to do all of it … I am also able to stay calm, so when everyone else is panicking, I will usually be the one who is just sitting and thinking calmly, ‘How can we fix this?’ Panicking is just much more of a waste of time … For example, two years ago, I had a big project all on a computer, and unfortunately, some of the pictures I needed ended up being corrupted files, and so I was editing the day before it was due and I had to stay up till 4 a.m. and redo every single picture. I think I did pretty well, given the circumstances, and I know if I had panicked in that situation, it probably would have been a lot worse.