November Senior of the Month – Linda Basheir
School: Lincoln High School
Nominator: Taara Green
Linda Basheir, is truly impressive. She is an exceptional student who speaks three languages, holds an honors status, and serves as the Head Ambassador at Lincoln High School. She’s known for her genuine concern for others and her proactive nature.
Linda, a high school senior, has achieved things that most students only dream of. Born and raised in Vassa, Finland, Linda’s journey from Finland to Philadelphia, USA, is a testament to her resilience. Despite studying in a school with limited diversity and being one of the few black students, Linda thrived. She fluently speaks Arabic, Finnish, and Swedish since Finland is a bilingual country. She also learned English from a young age, despite her initial disinterest in it. “I always hated my English class. I used to think, ‘Why do I have to learn English, I’m never going to move to America.’ And now here I am,” said Basheir.
Linda moved to the United States under trying circumstances with her older sister, Lena, who is a recent Lincoln graduate, and her younger brother, Lodan. After losing their mother and having their father imprisoned, they were cared for by their uncle who later decided to relocate them to the US to live with another family member in Philadelphia in 2019. This marked a new chapter in their lives.
As Head Ambassador at Lincoln High School, Linda has accomplished a lot. She orchestrated the merging of the EL Ambassadors with the School Ambassadors and handles daily announcements for non-English speaking students. She plays a pivotal role in Lincoln’s Annual Culture Fest Celebration and her leadership has fostered a strong team culture. Linda’s academic aptitude places her in the top 5% of her class. She takes Advanced Placement classes and is part of the LEAP dual enrollment program.
Known for being soft-spoken, Linda’s positive influence is felt by both staff and students. She’s a high-achiever who brings positivity and unity to the Lincoln school community.
We asked Linda some of our favorite questions:
1. What does being named Senior of the Month mean to you?
It means a lot to me. I feel like I’m seen. They see me, especially when it comes to staff members. They see the work that I’ve been doing. They see that I’m really trying to change the school, especially since I’m the president of the student ambassadors. I made it clear to them that I wanted to change some things at the school. We have a lot of great seniors so I was surprised that they picked me. It makes me feel seen and appreciated.
2. Why do you think you were nominated for Senior of the Month?
Again, I am the president of the student ambassadors. We do a lot of stuff for school events. We are the ones who plan and organize the events. We always help the assistant principals. Even if I’m in class, if they text me because they need a student ambassador I’m ready to go. I’m always helping. Whatever they need I’m willing to do it.
3. You were nominated by Taara Green. Explain your relationship to him/her. Why do you think s/he nominated you specifically?
I love Assistant Principal Green. I know people notice it because some people have asked me if she’s my mom! I understand why they think that because like I said my mom died when I was young. She would notice that I was going through a lot mentally. So coming to school and finding AP Green, was great. She was always there for me. We got closer especially when I became the president of the student ambassadors. I’m always in her office especially because we plan a lot for the student ambassadors. She takes care of me especially if I’m hungry or just having a bad day, she’s there for me. She always hugs me and takes time to talk to me. So just having someone who is like a mom to me means a lot.
4. What is one thing you’d like to share about yourself that most people don’t know about you?
A lot of people probably think that I don’t like school because I always appear to be mad or I’m always exhausted but I actually love school, in particular Lincoln. I love this school and the school spirit that we have. I’m sad because I’m leaving but I plan on coming back to continue to help the Lincoln community.
5. What do you enjoy most when you are not at school?
I like to sleep because I do so much in school. As a president, there’s a lot to plan and a lot to think about, and because it’s my first time in this type of position I just want to make sure that whatever I do, I do it well. I know the whole school is watching us so I want to make sure that whatever we do, we do it well. Even when I’m not at school I’m thinking about and planning things for school. I just want to make sure that we do things well because I want the best for the school and the students. I also want the best for the student ambassadors. I’m leaving soon so I want to make sure that once I leave, their good and they know how to handle everything so they can keep it going.
6. In your opinion, what is the best thing about attending school at Lincoln?
Two things: The diversity – Like I said I grew up in a small town where there was no diversity at all. If you see a black person in Finland you’re going to stare at them because you haven’t seen one in a while. In school, I wasn’t bullied and I didn’t face any racism but I always knew that I was different from everyone else. So coming to Lincoln is a big change. We have a lot of Hispanics, Middle Easterners, Black students, etc. We have a lot of diversity from a lot of different countries. I love the diversity. We have a lot of diversity clubs, including the Muslim Student Association (ASM). I just love how we have so many students from so many different countries who speak so many different languages. You can see it when we have our annual culture fest. The food, music, and dancing are all from different countries. It shows how diverse Lincoln is. Second, the staff and how the staff members actually love you. As I said I was going through a lot mentally and they would just take me into the office. You have to put your mental health first. So they would always take me into the office and ask if I needed anything like food, water, blanket etc. So I really appreciate the staff.
7. In your opinion, what is one thing that the School District could do to improve our service to students?
The food. I know the schools can’t do anything about so I think the District should do something about it. I’m here for 7-8 hours everyday. What is served is not enough to sustain me for the entire school day. It’s not going to give me the energy that I need to focus the whole day. As someone who came from Finland, we had a whole buffet and it was free. The school paid for it. You always had bread, salad, soup. We always had hot fresh food. And you can take as much as you want. You could even go back for seconds which is especially good for athletes. You can’t expect us to be here the whole day and not feed us food that going to give us the energy we need, that is why no one can focus in class because they are not eating well.
We also need breaks. I know a lot of elementary schools have recess but not in high school which doesn’t make sense. In Finland, we had recess up to college. You need at least a 15-minute break in between each class. A lot of scientists have said that it’s not healthy to study or sit in the same place for more than 45 minutes. So why are we doing that at school? That’s even more reason why no one can focus in school. We don’t have sufficient food and we don’t take any breaks. There has to be a way that we can find a solution.