Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Meet another student in our Senior Snapshots series, which offers a look at some of the New York teenagers getting their diplomas this month.
By the time they are seniors, many high school students have learned the art of self-discipline.
Rokya Samake just graduated from Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem with four years of good grades behind her. But she remembers back to the 8th grade when she had such a hard time that she didn't know if she'd even make it to high school.
"I pretty much had forgotten how to really do work, how to really buckle down, go home, be disciplined, wear my uniform everyday," Samake said.
She thought of high school as a clean slate and started to hit the books: "I kind of just went home and said, 'Okay I'm not going to turn on the TV.' ... I just really walked past my living room and just went to the dining room and just sat there and just did the work until it was finished."
Samake also worked as a peer mediator, founded Thurgood Marshall's student council, and played competitive squash — a sport that she said she's come to love. She is heading to Bates College in Maine in the Fall.