Black Excellence

Black students at Garfield showcase their passionate work in and around the community.


Nadia Caty


What things are you passionate about and why? What groups/organizations and projects do you work with?

“I am passionate about a lot of things, it is hard to pinpoint what field of “things” to talk about but right now I am passionate about bodybuilding, photography, and school. I am passionate about bodybuilding and photography because in those moments, whether I am either lifting weights or capturing photos, it is my escape from reality and stress.”

Why did you initially get involved with those organizations? What experience did you go in with?

“I initially got involved in ASB because my peers and some of the staff in GHS told me I had great leadership skills and thought I should step up and join. It was mainly just encouragement from peers that gave me the push I needed, but after getting some recognition and being talked up into joining, I started to see a few problems around our school.”

What setbacks have you faced in your efforts or experiences?

“I think when it comes to setbacks, majority of the losses I took were due to my mindset. There is really no one to blame or point the finger at other than myself. I probably could be a lot further in life if I was a bit more organized and wasn’t so distracted. Part of it was me being lazy, making excuses saying I don’t have time or It’s too much work.”


Hawi Kadir


What things are you passionate about and why? What groups/organizations and projects do you work with?

“Currently what I’m really passionate about is trying to create a place for modest women to find a place to have clothing. I currently own with a close friend of mine, Modest Baddie, which is a clothing brand. As of right now, we sell hijabs and hijab accessories, but I want to grow that into a foundation for women to be able to shop for modest clothing without having to go on fashion nova and other big brands, shopping for hours trying to find modest outfits. I want to make it so that people can shop faster, and find things that will fit their body and they will enjoy wearing.”

“I’m also part of the Oromo Culture Community. OCC stands for Oromo culture center in Seattle, but outside of that, recently there have been Oromo protesters against the genocides that are happening to Oromo people in Ethiopia. Oromo people have been being killed for being Oromo for the past 150 years, and many more things that I don’t want to touch on right now. Basically, a lot of genocides, equality, and governmental issues, so we spent the last summer protesting, going to BLM protests, and also the Oromo protests in Seattle. Other than that, I love working with kids. I do Team Read and I have a lot of siblings, so helping around and working with kids is something that I do in my free time. I have 7 younger siblings…it has its ups and downs.”

Why did you initially get involved with those organizations? What experience did you go in with?

“Well the Oromo protests, that is something my family has been growing up doing whenever there was an Oromo activism thing or a protest in Seattle. We always went  growing up. They always started in the Central district in Seattle. I would say being Oromo, my identity has always been political. In school I would be peer pressured to call myself Ethiopian by peers who also believed that I was Ethiopian. Oromo people have been through a lot really. “

“Modest Baddie was definitely something we created working together. Over quarantine, we were really bored and wanted to do something to make change. Something that I’m passionate about outside of school is clothing and fashion so it was something I created.”

What can others do as young people to make positive change?

“I think number one, take your time to learn. It doesn’t have to be a whole book or documentary, but at least take 15 minutes a day to earn what it is that you want to be educated upon. And once you’re educated upon that, find people who have similar niches as what you want to learn about or pursue, just find other people [with] who you can connect and converse with. And get out your bubble, because sometimes your pride and ego [are] what’s keeping you back. just take the time to learn and educate. You may have to unlearn some things because your current mindset will be totally different when you learn new things. Just having an open mind when you go into a new atmosphere or environment of learning something new.


Aziza Alabe


What things are you passionate about and why? What groups/organizations and projects do you work with?

“One of the big things for me is performing, like dancing and singing in front of crowds. Basically just being in front of crowds, because in a weird way it feels like a safe space to me. I’m very comfortable when I’m in front of a lot of people, which is funny because I’m actually not very comfortable when it’s a small crowd. But I like being in front of crowds, it gets me hyped, it gets me excited.”

“The biggest one would definitely be ASB. I got elected as Garfield’s president this year, which is really really cool. Definitely didn’t think that would happen, cause I had only been on ASB for a year prior to that, as Junior class president. So to be ASG president this year is crazy. It’s been a lot of behind the scenes stuff since we can’t really do anything in school but it’s been really really cool.”

“Some other things I do for the school is CORE which is really cool. We’ve been planning an [online] mental health awareness forum. Other than that I haven’t really been able to do much outside of school, the only other thing that I do is I teach a dance class for kids, which is really cool. I usually teach it in person but I’ve been doing it online.”

How many years have you been doing CORE?

“It’s my first year on CORE staff. I went on the CORE trip for the first time last year, and I absolutely loved it. That was a crazy, crazy thing for me. I’m not a person to really talk to people about my mental health and emotions and all that stuff, so core was a great outlet for me to be able to let a lot of stuff go and out. So [this year] I was like, ok, I think I’m gonna run for staff, because I want to be able to help other students the way they helped me. I put in my application and got onto CORE staff, and my first year on CORE staff has been crazy. It’s really fun, everybody there makes it very easy. Amara, Mahalia, and Jasmine were the only returning CORE staff, so we did all the trainings this summer, it was just crazy, I loved it.”

Is the mental health seminar the first event this year?

The mental health webinar is our first thing this year, seeing as we haven’t been able to do anything else. So we’re just gonna do some self-care things, and hopefully be an outlet for some students to be able to get some of their mental health stuff out. And everything that comes out is anonymous, cause we know since everyone’s at home you probably can’t say everything you want to say, so we’re trying to make it very easy for students to be able to let some stuff go or just talk about whatever they want to talk about.

What have you been doing to keep up with dancing and performing during pandemic?

“That’s been one of the hardest things for me, because in my last 18 years of life, I’ve been doing stuff every single day, like after school I’d go to practice, and after practice or after school I’d have this, like there was always something for me to do. So once we got put into lockdown and I had nothing to do, it was really hard for me to have motivation to do anything. It was just like, oh, I have nothing to do, let me just sit here. Like I said, I do the dance class with the kids, which kinda lets me have something to look forward to. Other than that, I just entertain myself, like play some music and dance around in my room, or make up random dances out in my backyard or something. The only type of engagement I get from crowds is when we did curriculum night, when I had to talk to a bunch of parents, and spirit weeks when we run games after quote-unquote school during our lunch. That’s the only way that I’ve been able to be in front of crowds, which is not really in front of crowds. It kinda sucks.”