Laila Jewayni traveled to more than 10 countries before she graduated from Winston Churchill High School on Thursday, June 2. Most frequently, she traveled to India, and those were the trips that left the strongest impression.
“It’s so heartbreaking because you see the children in the slums,” said Jewayni, recalling children wearing rags, holding baby brothers or sisters and begging for money. “When you see this, you want to help. … Proper utilities and infrastructure would help so much.”
With a father who works for the International Monetary Fund, Jewayni was exposed to the international community growing up. Like most of her classmates, Jewayni will leave for college in August, but she’s leaving for the American University of Paris. She plans to study international relations and wants to become fluent in French.
A trip to Paris two years ago sealed the deal. Jewayni said she felt comfortable abroad in France — the cultural barrier wasn’t as daunting in part because she tried to speak French there as much as she could.
“I’ve fallen in love with … the language, the culture and the beauty of the city,” Jewayni said. “I love the Champs-Elysees. … It’s so full of life.”
Churchill’s foreign language and social studies classes were influential for Jewayni. She took four years of French, and in her senior year, she loaded up on social studies courses. Comparative Politics and Human Geography were illuminating, she said. The former class compares governments of different countries, while the latter dealt with different world cultures.
Growing up in Potomac, Jewayni met her share of globally conscious people — and a few globally unconscious. “It’s kind of a sheltered place,” Jewayni said. “A lot of kids that live around here don’t realize what’s happening in other countries.”
“[This time of life] is something I know I’m going to miss,” Jewayni said, but she described herself as somebody who likes change and different cultures. She’s ready for Paris. “High school is high school. Once you’re done, it’s time to move on.”