Iman Jaroudi makes no secret about the fact that she’s pushed herself hard the past four years.
So while the Yale-bound SM East senior still has International Baccalaureate exams to complete before she can officially consider herself done with high school, the fact that classes are done and the long-awaited graduation ceremony was finally here had her feeling relaxed Tuesday night.
“No matter what happens on those exams, it’s done, it’s over, we all know where we’re going to college,” she said. “It’s a really surreal feeling. I’m used to going home and doing homework for hours a day and having the foot on the gas constantly. Now it feels like I can breathe a little. I’m not used to that.”
In addition to her excellence in the classroom, Jaroudi is a talented musician who says she’s considering performing arts and music as possible majors. Political science is in the mix for consideration as well.
She credits her four years at SM East with helping bolster her confidence and broaden her horizons. After going through elementary school at Westwood View and then middle school at Indian Hills, Jaroudi arrived in high school with the normal nervousness. But she says that her fellow students and great teachers inspired her to get more and more involved. Her freshman year, she successfully organized to bring Junior Board to the school. The organization challenges students to pitch each other on different non-profit groups that students could raise money to donate to. She also founded the Feminist Club at the high school.
“East has honestly been the most amazing place — I don’t even know where to start,” she said Tuesday as the graduates prepared to enter the SM North stadium to receive their diplomas. “It taught me the power of initiative and confidence. It’s a place where you can truly do absolutely anything under the sun, as long as you have the guts to do it.”
Yes, she admits, the pace she kept as a student was stressful.
“But I’m going to miss it with all my heart,” she said. “The place is incredible. The teachers are unbelievable. The quality of extracurriculars and quality of teaching are off the chart.”
This summer, she’ll take a breather to travel to visit family and friends in Lebanon, Mexico, St. Louis and Philadelphia. Then, in August, she’ll head to New Haven to dig in to her next challenges.
“My parents haven’t seemed too sad yet,” she said. “I think they might be once I leave and they realize, ‘Oh, all we have left is the cat.'”