SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Asfia Hussain is a member of Spotswood High School's Class of 2020. She recently graduated virtually on June 23 and will be a part of an outdoor graduation ceremony at the Spotswood High School Football Stadium on July 8. Hussain spent most of her childhood growing up in Helmetta before moving to Spotswood a year and a half ago. The teen is a proud big sister to her baby brother Aryan who was born this year.

The National Honor Society member enjoyed her time at Spotswood High School. Hussain was a part of the Community Service Club, Girls Learn International and the Environmental Club. She was also a member of the high school's peer mentoring program. During her sophomore and junior years, Hussain was a member of the Chargers winter and spring track teams as a pole vaulter. She served as a manager for the girls varsity basketball program and the boys soccer program for all four years at SHS.

Hussain's favorite class was Honors Anatomy and the teacher that earned the highest marks was Spotswood High School Drama and Communication Arts teacher Annie Raczko. Ever since she was a young girl, Hussain has wanted a career in medicine because she loves helping people. Her aunt, who is a cardiac thoracic surgeon, has been a big inspiration to her as has Raczko.

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When Hussain was a student in Raczko's English class, the veteran teacher found medical textbooks to read in class as well as provided her with ways to find out more about career opportunities in medicine. Hussain will always be grateful to the interest Raczko took in her as well as the support and encouragement she gave. When Hussain finally graduates from medical school, Raczko will be one of the people she thanks.

Outside of school, Hussain enjoys volunteering and traveling. She has visited India, Malaysia, Paris and Spain along with other places around the globe. Hussain has even begun heading down the path to her future goal of working in medicine by interning at local medical practices.

Like her fellow members of the Class of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic changed the senior year Hussain had in mind.

"2020 will definitely be a year to remember, but not for what we thought it would be," Hussain said. "I was always told by my aunts and uncles that my senior year will be one the best years of my life and to 'Live it Up'. I have been looking forward to this year; the year where we finally get rewarded for all that hard work we put in."

Hussain has always loved the high school's fall Spirit Weeks, but this year's spirit festivities leading up to Homecoming was special. She was excited for prom, Senior Week, Senior Pranks and of course graduation and then everything changed in mid-March.

"It was all ambushed with being in quarantine," Hussain said. "I was initially upset just like everyone else because we'll never get back this year, but then I realized maybe it was a blessing in disguise. Quarantine taught me some life lessons that I don't think I would have been privied to otherwise. It taught me there is more to life and not to take things for granted. Friends might come and go, but memories will last forever."

"The most important thing quarantine gave to me was the importance of family," Hussain continued. "I've been blessed with such a big loving and supportive family. They knew I was missing out on these traditions, so they did their best to help me create new ones. Every day in quarantine was almost a new surprise adventure waiting for me whether it was a new game, or new project or themed dinner. I'm still cleaning up the mess from all the pranks. And let's not forget, having a new baby brother is an adventure in itself!"

Her baby brother Aryan was one of the main reasons Hussain decided not to venture too far from home for college even though she absolutely loves experiencing new places and different cultures. Other countries and cities are on her future agenda, but Hussain will stay close to Spotswood for college. She will be attending the Rutgers School of Nursing. Hussain plans on becoming a nurse practitioner with a pre-med track to take her to her ultimate goal of becoming a doctor.

Hussain's parents are extremely proud of their daughter's accomplishments in and out of school, and look forward to seeing where the next chapter takes her.

"If we could only give you one thing in this world, I wish we could give you the ability to see yourself through our eyes, then you can see how absolutely proud and special you really are," Hussain's parents said. "Words can not describe how blessed and amazed we are with you. We have watched you blossom into a beautiful strong, and loving woman with a great head on your shoulders."

Hussain is very thankful for the wonderful memories and lifelong friendships she has forged at Spotswood High School in addition to her loving family.

"I will forever be grateful which is why I made the decision of staying close by for college," Hussain said.

"If I could give my fellow classmates and the new upcoming seniors advice it would be life may not always give you everything you want or the way you want it, instead make the best out of it," Hussain added. "Our year may have been cut short, but not our dreams."