My name is Anoushka Parthasarathi and I’m currently a senior at South Brunswick High School in New Jersey. I’m graduating in a month and I couldn’t be more excited. With graduation comes tons of new opportunities and new memories to make and I’m so eager to get out into the world and seize those.
Earlier this year, when I was thinking about what to do to celebrate my graduation, I said to myself, “It’s just high school, everybody graduates. It’s not that big a deal. Maybe I’ll just throw a small party with some close friends.”
The next day, I went to school and saw flyers around for a fundraiser for She’s the First. I had heard the name before, but I didn’t really know what it was about. I went home and looked at the website, and what I saw was absolutely alarming. Only one in every five girls in the developing world finishes primary school!! Yet, less than two cents of every development dollar goes to girls!!
Upon seeing this, I was shocked. I was shocked at how much I take for granted, how much we take for granted, every single day. We get the privilege of going to a good school and learning in a safe environment 5 times a week. We never think twice about it because going to school is the norm here, and we’re lucky that it is. Agreed, it’s difficult getting up at 6 AM every day and catching a bus an hour later (I’ve given up all hope on trying to wake up that early), but we’re so fortunate that we have that problem.
Everyone should be entitled to an education. In fact, education should be a right, not a privilege. Girls like Malala remind me just how hard it is for girls around the world and it should never be like that. Thinking about this, I felt so frustrated and helpless and confused. I felt restless. I felt like I needed to do something. That’s when it clicked. I could use my graduation as a way to help these girls who so desperately need it. I could use it to raise awareness about this issue. I decided to do a fundraiser while doing something I love, aka dance.
I’ve been dancing for as long as I can remember and I love it more than anything in the world. It’s an outlet for me. Whether I’m sad, happy, mad, frustrated, I just dance and I feel incredible. I feel magic. Pure magic. I thought about it and realized that I could put on a show and make that a fundraiser.
Suddenly, everything started to come together. My dance teacher was excited to help organize the show. Phone calls were made, emails were sent, discussions were happening; it was all such a blur. I came home from school one day and my mom said, “You’re doing the show!” I got so excited and couldn’t wait to prepare.
So much has been done in preparation for this performance and I’m so excited for the day to finally come. I have had regular dance rehearsals at 7 am on Sunday mornings, 3.30 pm on some weekdays soon after school, besides my weekly dance classes and the class I teach early Saturday mornings. I practically camp out at my dance school! I prepared for two other programs while preparing for this one and also took 3 AP exams. I skipped opportunities to hang out with my friends who I may never see after graduation. I have worked really hard for this fundraiser and I urge you all to please come out and support this incredible cause.
High school graduation IS a BIG deal and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate it than by helping other girls around the world graduate. If you would like to support my fundraiser, please donate here.