Only in her second year of high school, sophomore Maryam Jadoon is the founder and president of Pakistani Student Association (PSA), a club that emphasizes the value of global cultures, while adding in entertaining aspects to maintain a knowledgeable and lively environment.
Sophomore Maryam Jadoon may seem like she is someone that keeps to herself, but her personality tells one otherwise. Bold and bright, Jadoon is a member of ten clubs at Potomac Falls, which stretch from Future Healthcare Professionals of America to Sophomore Advisory Board. She showed me this extensive extracurricular list in the notes app on her iPhone, scrolling through and explaining them one by one; however, the club that she holds close to her heart is the one she founded last year during online learning.
Jadoon says, “I created the Pakistani Student Association (PSA) to get Pakistanis at Potomac Falls together.” She adds that non-Pakistanis are also welcome to join this club and that last year, many of the participants were of non-Pakistani descent.
Pakistan is a country in Asia, with a population of 220.9 million, making it the world’s fifth-most populous country; it has the sixth-largest diaspora in the world. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2021, there are 554,202 American residents of Pakistani descent, with the majority living in New York and Virginia. Jadoon is one of them. Speaking Urdu and Hindko, a dialect similar to Urdu, fluently, Jadoon is proud of her heritage. Her parents hail from Abbottabad, known as ‘the city of pines’, in northeastern Pakistan, and Jadoon herself is part of the Pathan Tribe, also known as the Pashtuns.
PSA is sponsored by one of the Spanish teachers, Sra. Schneider. The PSA officers include juniors Aleeha Salam, Mehdi Hussain, and seniors Roohan Ahmed and Asna Khan. “We meet once a week on the first Thursday of the month,” explains Jadoon, “It is easier to plan things out when we do not meet so often.”
Jadoon plans out meetings with Salam in precise detail, usually creating bright-colored slideshows listing fun facts about Pakistani culture, ranging from how to pronounce various Urdu words to fashion trends in Pakistan. If she had to pick her favorite meeting so far, she would choose “the one we had most recently about cricket. Everyone seemed to be having a good time and it was fun seeing everyone in person.”
Jadoon has been to Pakistan four times, and describes it as “very different from the US, which makes it interesting to explore. Pakistani culture varies depending on where you are from.”
She does not see her family and relatives there that often, which often makes her voyage a bittersweet one. A very common tradition, she notes, is to give charity to the poor. “Pakistan is one of the most giving countries in the world, and families continue to spread that message on,” says Jadoon.
Jadoon describes herself as confident. As the middle child of three, she says she has had to learn how to be outspoken. Planning on attending UVA or UCLA, Jadoon says, “I will definitely create a PSA at the college I will go to; if there is one, I will step up and help the club grow.”
The next meeting is on DeC 9, with the members meeting in room 107. Jadoon says, “Anyone is welcome to join. They can follow our Instagram account, join our Remind and come to meetings.”