North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Farah Tawfik, Senior

Photo credited to Farah Tawfik

What is your name and grade? Farah Tawfik, Senior.

What initially drew you to become involved in track and field, and how has being the captain of the girls’ track team influenced your high school experience? I have always enjoyed running and the adrenaline that followed.  I wasn’t fortunate enough to start sports early, but entering high school allowed for more involvement, specifically in running and eventually taking part in the girl’s track program. Being a captain has taught me great leadership skills and immense patience that’s carried on through my high school years. 

Balancing academics, athletics, and a job can be challenging. How do you manage your time effectively to excel in all these areas? It’s not easy, It’s not easy at all. When you realize your values towards specific things you start to prioritize balance between your academics, extracurriculars, and jobs. Being committed to a sports team causes you to get your priorities straight, it teaches you true tenacity that carries on towards academics. Coaches will always state the student comes before the athlete, and it’s true. I put my academics before all else and time management balances the rest.

Congratulations on qualifying two years in a row for DECA nationals! Could you share a bit about the project or presentation that led to your success and how it reflects your interests and skills? My project consisted of three parts, a 20-page paper, a board presentation, and a script. This year I took on a financial operations research paper, with one of my DECA teammates. We conduct research regarding a credit union, in hopes of enhancing employment. A great factor for our success was exceeding expectations as a team. Our paper was very well written and expressed with confidence through our presentation. DECA reflects my interest relating to business as it allows for real-world experience within a field of interest. My specialty is marketing and presentations, which were carried throughout our presentation. 

As you prepare to proceed alone for the DECA nationals, what are some strategies you’re implementing to ensure you perform your best? Implementing suggestions from state on improving my paper will bring about great chances of success. To ensure exceeding performance I will focus on enhancing engagement through my script during my presentation. Lastly, displaying my presentation with confidence will play a vital role in success.

Outside of school and extracurricular activities, what are some hobbies or interests that you enjoy in your free time? Drawing is one of my favorite hobbies in my free time, second to running. I draw real portraits of people. It’s something I find to be extremely relaxing. It takes a good 8-10 hours on one drawing. I could honestly sit for that amount of time listening to music and drawing,  and my day would be made. I also enjoy marketing. I run all socials for my extracurriculars, therefore I’m constantly constructing posts, flyers, videos, etc. that are found to be appealing. The endless opportunities for creativity and attention to detail attract me greatly to the field of marketing.

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment or achievement from your time on the track team that stands out to you? In my freshman year of track, my team consisted of three state qualifiers and possibly the fastest runners I know. Getting to train with them every day, regardless of where I was in my training, brought so much life to the work being put in. Watching them compete in my first track meet was definitely one of the most memorable moments, they flew when they ran, and I was blown away honestly. To this day, I look up to them greatly. 

How do you think participating in sports has contributed to your personal growth and development, both on and off the track? Cross country and track are one of the most mental sports. Once your body starts to give up, your thoughts are what push you to continue because, unlike most sports, you can’t stop when you’re tired. I learned that when it hurts the most, your next steps are what determine the type of athlete you are. For me that pain is the last mile of a 3-mile race in cross country, or the last 100m in the 400m dash. The mental strength I’ve obtained due to those kinds of races and training contributes to the greatest development for myself. Even off the track, when the thought of quitting on something crosses my mind, recalling that it’s not an option pushes me to finish.

How do you, as a team leader, promote unity and teamwork among your teammates? A great example of this is during our warm-up. At times it seems as though the warm-ups are harder than the actual workouts, but I push my girls to finish every last stride regardless of complaints. We compete against each other a lot and with that comes great teamwork towards improvement and personal progression. I promote unity by making sure we’re constantly representing, for example on meet days we dress up or wear our jackets as a team to show unity. 

The girls’ track program has evolved significantly since your freshman year, largely due to your efforts. Where do you hope to see the program by the end of this season or after you graduate? I hope to see us back at the state level. We’ve built up our program to be well-rounded these past two years and hope they progress moving forward. I look forward to seeing new leaderships take place as well as new records being replaced.

Beyond your current involvements, do you have any aspirations or goals for the future that you’re particularly passionate about? I do hope to continue running and eventually run a marathon. I would also like to return to North and take part in coaching track and field.  I’m passionate about advocating for female representation in sports, I will definitely continue to grow programs beyond high school that suppose the same beliefs.

It’s approaching the end of senior year, what are your plans post-high school? I will continue my education and take part in sports administrative studies. Hopefully, from there many opportunities will arise moving forward.

If you could offer one piece of advice to incoming high school students about finding balance and pursuing their passions, what would it be? Be involved and stay involved. It builds so much character and allows for so much exposure to great experiences. Take advantage of the opportunities that high school allows for and put forth all your efforts. Some things will be worth stress because the outcome will be worth it.

Do you have any spring break plans? Not much, I have practice in the mornings and my afternoons are taken up by work.

What is your favorite food? Pasta, I love pasta. The endless opportunities that come with pasta make it never boring. Making it makes it even more favorable.

What are your events in track? I’ve ran every event in track besides the 2 mile, ranging from the 50m-1600m. My main events have  always been sprinting events, specifically the 400m.

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About the Contributor
Gabby Mattison
Gabby Mattison, Reporter
Gabby is a senior at Niles North and this is her first year in North Star News. In her free time she likes to learn new things, watching new shows/movies, and spending time with her nephews/nieces.

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