Our latest Scholar Athlete of the Week was never encouraged to play sports before moving to Queens from Afghanistan three years ago. Now, she is determined to accomplish her goals both in and off the courts. NY1's Anthony Pascale has the story.
While growing up in Afghanistan, Khatira Darvish was never encouraged to play sports.
"They don't really care much because they don't see the potential in a Muslim girl to play sports," said Darvish, the Ford Lincoln of Queens/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.
But that changed when she moved to Queens three years ago.
The Flushing International High School senior did not even know what handball or volleyball was.
Thanks to support from friends and teachers, she decided to give them a shot.
"I had never seen sports like that when I was back in my country," said Darvish. "The only thing I knew was badminton. That's it."
"Then, when I came here, I saw different sports and I thought, 'Why not? Let's give it a try!'" she added.
Darvish said adjusting to a new school with a challenging course load was not easy at first, but being part of a team helped her relax.
"No matter how much work I have in school, even when I have practice or the weather is nice, and I see my friends outside playing, I just go out and play with them,” Darvish said. "I'm like, 'I need to release my stress!'"
Now, Darvish grabs at every opportunity that comes her way.
She writes for the school newspaper, tutors her classmates, and is part of a program with the Queens District Attorney's office. She also volunteers at the YMCA.
Although Darwish is busy, teachers said her grades have never slipped.
"As a teacher, I feel that this is the kind of student that we want," said physical education teacher, Isabel Polanco. "Also as a coach, this is the kind of athlete we want on our team."
Maria Eloisa Villanueva, a math teacher at Flushing International, said Darvish doesn’t give up. "She has the determination and passion to really accomplish her goals."
That passion is pushing her toward a career in law enforcement.
Darwish said she plans to study criminal justice in college and one day hopes to be an investigator.
"I want to achieve what I want in life and just be someone successful so that I have a name," she said.
And so for proving that anything is possible through hard work and determination, Khatira Darvish is our Ford Lincoln of Queens/NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week.