This story is part of Newsday’s 2019 Extraordinary Seniors series showcasing 16 high school students from across Long Island with the vision and determination to transform their corners of the universe — and perhaps beyond. Click here to read more.
Sabera Hossain's passion for helping others knows no bounds — or borders.
Hossain, 17, a senior at East Meadow High School, has engaged in humanitarian tasks, both at home and abroad, ranging from fighting poverty as president of her school's World Hunger Action Club to teaching English to underprivileged kids in Bangladesh.
While in the South Asian country last summer, she spent six weeks volunteering in a school that she described as a "tin shack on the banks of a lake." She provided the group of roughly 30 students, ages 4 to 8, with homemade educational materials — including index cards and game booklets to help them learn numbers and words — as part of a project for her Girl Scout Gold Award.
"I really connected with the kids; they were like my little brothers and sisters," said Hossain, who has a Bangladeshi background and is active in the Bangladesh Heritage Foundation.
Hossain's humane efforts don't end there. She also volunteered at the senior-living communities Sunrise of East Meadow and Sunharbor Manor in Roslyn Heights, as well as at Nassau University Medical Center and the Wantagh-Levittown Volunteer Ambulance Corps. At the latter, she was a member of the Cadet Corps, teens who train to ride in ambulances and help in emergencies alongside paramedics and EMTs.
Hossain is among about 30 students Islandwide involved in Molloy College's Energeia for Teens, a leadership program that combines community service, group discussions and skill-building exercises. This year, students coordinated community "table talks" on the topics of mindfulness, voter registration, and respect for others and the environment, she said.
She has been treasurer and vice president of her school's Key Club, having been named a Distinguished Key Clubber for her dedication to the organization by a local Kiwanis Club; she also received the Senator Kemp Hannon Leadership Award and the Good Deed Award from Chabad of Mineola.
"I feel like everyone needs to go out and see what the world has to offer," Hossain said. "That's why I've done so much; I wanted to explore what I like and don't like."
In school, Hossain has a weighted GPA of 106, an SAT score of 1550 and is an AP Scholar with Distinction. She is a member of seven honor societies, the math team, STEM Club and Pre-Medicine Club. Membership in the National Academy of Finance came after she passed four standardized exams and held a 120-hour internship in the business field.
In addition, Hossain is co-creator of Humans of East Meadow, an Instagram account devoted to highlighting different students and staff in her school district. The account has accumulated more than 1,000 followers since its inception in the fall.
"Sabera is someone who is always looking for a challenge — eager to travel the world, experience new cultures, meet new people and make a difference in the lives of others," East Meadow school counselor Joanna Silberman said. "I can think of no one more mature and ready to embark on the next journey of her life."
HIGHER ED: Hossain will attend Stony Brook University Honors College but has not decided on a major.
FRESHMAN YEAR: Hossain said she's most looking forward to widening her horizons and finding new things that she likes.
IF I RULED THE WORLD "I would work to promote cultural and religious understanding and acceptance among people."