'Though She Be Little' ...

Turner-Ashby Student One ‘Strong Woman’

Posted: February 12, 2013

Turner Ashby High School senior Daroon Jalil works in one of the school’s computer labs Feb. 7 in Harrisonburg. On Feb. 2, Jalil was recognized as one of the four winners of the “Strong Men and Women in Virginia History” essay contest at the Marriot hotel in Richmond. (Photo by Aimee George / DN-R Features)
Standing a mere 4 feet 11 inches, Turner Ashby High School senior Daroon Jalil earned the honor of being named one of four winners in the “Strong Men and Women in Virginia History” essay contest, presented Feb. 2 at the Marriot hotel in Richmond.

This educational initiative, launched by Dominion Virginia Power and the Library of Virginia, was an essay contest in which the students were asked to write about their own development as a leader and their contributions to the community.

The program merged with a former program, “African Trailblazers in Virginia History.” According to a Dominion news release, Paul D. Koonce, chief executive officer of Dominion Power said, “combining the two programs offers outstanding opportunities to highlight the accomplishments of both historical and contemporary men and women.”

According to Daisy Pridgen, media relations contact for Dominion Virginia Power, this is the third time in four years that a student from Turner Ashby has won the writing contest, a source of pride for TAHS administrators.

Steven B. Walk, principal at Turner Ashby, also recognizes that “Dominion does a great job of recognizing [the students] ... ”

Why Write?
Though at first hesitant to pursue the contest, Jalil found that her personal experiences as a Muslim living in the Valley would “set an example for others and show them that we care about the community.”

Life as a Muslim in a rural area “has sometimes been an inconvenience, but every place that you live has its [own] difficulties.”

Jalil uses these experiences to show others that she is a “good person, and encouraged [her] to be the best that [she] can be.”

Initially, she had difficulty with the topic, saying, “[It] took a while to think of something to write. But then, when I finally thought of something, I wrote it in one night.”

Early events in her life shaped the importance of education for Jalil. Her parents and her three siblings moved from Kurdistan — a region in northern Iraq inhabited predominantly by the Kurdish minority group — in 1997 when she was younger than two years old.

Jalil recalls how her parents, especially her father always encouraged schooling, which, she explains, came from the minimal education her father had received.

This lack made it more difficult to find a job that wasn’t laborious.

With plans to attend James Madison University and hopes of eventually pursuing a doctorate degree, coupled with sibling rivalry and the staggering costs of higher education, Jalil has applied for scholarships.

She says her teachers have been encouraging throughout the process, helping to improve her writing style “to convey what [she] wants to say in words, and do it nicely,” as she explains.

The prize benefited Jalil, as well as her school: “I got a free computer!” Jalil says, excitedly. “And the school got $1,000 cash to spend.”


Contact Aimee George at   (540) 574-6292 or ageorge@dnronline.com.