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Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

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Humans of WEGO: Rama Alwan paves her own way

Rama Alwan is considered by others to be a kind and mindful student whose faith and family have helped her develop drive.
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Sophomore Rama Alwan is known for her sense of humor and determination. (Photo courtesy of Rama Alwan)

After being born in Jordan, located in the Middle East, sophomore Rama Alwan found herself living the American Dream, and getting the opportunity to study at West Chicago Community High School.

The first girl amongst her four brothers, Rama was born in September 2007. Her family then moved to the United States in 2012. Since then, she has lived her life in a Muslim home located in West Chicago.

“I don’t remember a lot of it, but I do remember being really excited because my brothers remembered more than I did, so they would always talk about it,” Rama said of moving to the U.S.

Rama Alwan with her brother, Qssam Alwan, when they were children. Rama is the only girl in a family of five children. (Photo courtesy of Rama Alwan)

According to Rama, one of the misconceptions people in DuPage County, an area where 42% of the population is Catholic, have about the Middle East is that everyone is Muslim, as she and her family are. While Muslims do make up 90% of the population, there are other religions present in the Middle East as well.

Her faith has played an important role in her life. In the Muslim religion, it is haram, or sinful, to drink or smoke. For Rama and her siblings, this message has been reinforced by their parents ever since they were young.

Rama is close with her family, and wants her parents to feel proud of her.

“I feel like, in some ways, like some things, I’m close to my mom, and some things I’m closer with my dad. Like opinions: I’m closer with my dad. But I tell my mom more stuff than I tell my dad,” she said.

While Rama is one of five children, she is closest in age to her brother Qssam Alwan, a senior at WEGO. Rama and Qssam are a close sibling duo. They tell each other their secrets, have inside jokes, they are there for each other and he takes her out of messy situations like a big brother would. However, since Qssam will graduate soon, they will not see each other in the halls anymore. That also means they will not carry each other’s backpacks during gym time.

“It feels kind of scary cause school felt safe knowing he was there, but I also feel like it’ll be kind of exciting at the same time,” Rama said.

She does have three older brothers who are in her everyday life, and contribute to her decisions and actions.

“The pro is that I have my brothers. So, they’re kind of like protective in a way. But then the con is that sometimes I don’t get like my privacy,” Rama said.

Even with all the people who surround her, “I’m like a more of a private person. I feel like I don’t really tell people my stuff like that,” Rama said.

In fact, the person she mainly goes to with so-called “tea” is fellow sophomore Tristan McWilliams.

“We met in sixth grade. We were in lots of classes together. I remember he was really funny. And we both had the same humor and I really wanted to be his friend,” Rama said.

McWilliams has been a really good friend of Rama for about five years now. According to Rama, he is the one who knows the real her and who she can be herself around without being judged.

“She’s a really caring friend. And she cares a lot about people. And if you really get to know her, she’s really nice. What makes her stand out? I guess her energy. She’s really goofy sometimes,” McWilliams said.

Like any other friendship, they have a variety of memories, whether in school or outside of school. They go to events such as football games and fairs, and they also enjoy going out to eat together.

Rama Alwan is now in her sophomore year at West Chicago Community High School. This will be the last year she attends school with her brother, Qssam Alwan. (Photo courtesy of Rama Alwan)

“Going to the fair with our friends was really fun. And then after we went to eat Canes because we both like Canes and it’s just our spot,” McWilliams said.

These days, Rama enjoys spending her time in the city of Chicago with her family, where they can spend a few hours walking around on the riverwalk, as well as eating at some of the more interesting restaurants. She loves the city so much that her goal is to attend University of Illinois in Chicago.

“It’s in the city, and I like Chicago. I think it’s really pretty,” Rama said.

While Rama is not sure what she wants to major in, all she knows is that she wants to be something in the medical field that will not take her too long to work her way through.

Her biggest obstacle, which was that she almost failed a class, will not stop her from achieving her goals. The experience terrified her so much that she learned from that obstacle to study and stay on top of her work just like she did her freshman year to bring her grade up to a passing one.

English teacher Malak Ahmad, at West Chicago High School had the opportunity to teach Rama her freshman year, a year that can be filled with pressure, and a big transition for students. She was able to see Rama develop in a new school environment.

“Rama can be spotted wearing a warm smile, a killer fashion sense and toting around an overall positive energy about her…She was always on top of her work in English and was an invaluable asset to the positive vibes in her class,” Ahmad said via email.

In their year together, came to Ahmad realize Rama is a confident person who dives into whatever task she is given.

“If Rama stood for a phrase, it would probably be one from a book we read last year, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. ‘I don’t live in my past or my present’. It’s ironic because I know she didn’t love that book. Rama stands for this phrase as she always seems immersed in the now – a mindful, kind, and engaged human in any group she’s put in,” Ahmad said.

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Your donation will support the student journalists of West Chicago Community High School. Your contribution will help us cover our annual website hosting costs. We appreciate your support!

About the Contributor
Karen Huerta Garnica
As a first-year journalist, Karen enjoys how she is able to express herself more in this class. She is currently a senior at West Chicago Community High School, and likes to do her makeup and watch a very well-known Netflix show, "Shameless". Karen plans to go to a university after high school to study to become a registered nurse, as she currently works as a pharmacy tech at a local Walgreens. She also loves to hang out with her 2-year-old chihuahua/poodle mix, Ace.
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