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Bhooshanan ranks in state-level Reflections

MADISON – Meenu Bhooshanan easily related to the 2017 Reflections theme, “What is your story?” In state competition, she claimed second place in the literary category’s senior division.

“I think everybody has a story to tell, especially when it’s their own,” Bhooshanan said. During years in elementary school, she frequently entered the literature and musical composition categories. She now is a senior at Bob Jones High School.

Bhooshanan accepted her award at the 2017 Reflections Awards Ceremony at Montgomery’s Capital Club on April 23. “I was not at all surprised to see quite a few winners from Huntsville and specifically from Madison City Schools,” she said.

Her essay, “Summer Sojourn”, discussed her scholarship for a six-week immersive language program in Amman, Jordan to study Arabic last summer. Bhooshanan completed 120 hours of instruction with about 20 American students. They served as cultural ambassadors at Qasid Institute, experienced the local culture and visited historical sites.

Improving her Arabic and exchanging cultures, Bhooshanan stayed with a Jordanian host family about three weeks. Students also met and interacted with Syrian refugees.

In “Summer Sojourn”, Bhooshanan wrote this passage:

“… As our eyes begin to drift off, our faces swaddled in the moonlight, sheltered by a blanket of twinkling stars, I begin to think about how different I am from my host family. I am American; they are Jordanian. I am Hindu; they are Muslim. My ancestors are from India; their ancestors are from Palestine. I am dark-skinned; they are light-skinned.”

“ … At the crux of it, we are all human. In a divisive time where at every turn people seek to find evidence for division, we must instead unify over our shared human compassions: love, empathy and understanding.”

Bhooshanan acknowledged help from Bob Jones College and Career Center, her teachers for “a strong foundation of learning and awareness,” her family and host family and fellow peers from Jordan.

Bhooshanan has won awards with Young Writer’s Contest and National Social Studies Honor Society essay contest. At Bob Jones, she serves as president of Interfaith Club, Young Advocates for Equality and Latin Honors Society; vice president of National English Honors Society; and is a member of Model UN, Latin and Spanish clubs and National Honor Society.

Her parents are Sri and Parvathy Bhooshanan. He works as a software engineer with SAIC. She is an English professor at Calhoun Community College.

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