A Muslim student at McMath Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia has made history becoming a first Black and hijabi woman to be chosen as the 2021 Valedictorian.
“Younger students who look like me, they can know those things are possible, those achievements are possible for them as well,” Raeyan Mohamed told Richmond News.
“(They know) that they have the opportunity to grow and learn at McMath.”
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Surveying the wall of previous valedictorians at McMath secondary, Mohamed she is the first Black, Muslim and hijabi on the wall.
She hopes to set an example for younger students, and allow people to look at her beyond the surface level.
“When people look at me, they see more than just my features, my body – they know me for my heart, my soul, my intelligence, my mind, my personality,” she said.
“We can be an inspiration to the world and make the changes that are very much possible.”
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As a result of Quebec 2019 law banning hijab, the young Muslim realized McGill or other universities in Quebec wouldn’t be open to her because she wears a hijab.
Therefore, she will be studying nursing at the University of Ottawa this fall.
“I was so limited – I couldn’t even apply to that province,” Mohamed said.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
Hijabi Muslim students have been making history recently in different countries.
Earlier this month, a Muslim law student at the University of Washington became one of the first – if not the first – student to go to graduation party while wearing hijab.