Student Organizes Olean High School's First World Hijab Day Event

Olean High School students wore hijabs in recognition of World HIjab Day on Feb. 1. Credits: Zayba Chauhdry

OLEAN, NY--Approximately 30 students and several teachers participated in Olean High School's first World Hijab Day event Feb. 1.   

Founded by New York resident Nazma Khan in 2013, World Hijab Day began as an effort to "foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women (non-Hijabi Muslims/non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day," Khan told the World Hijab Day website.  

Since its advent, World Hijab Day has become a global success. Estimates suggest 190 countries participated in this year's event.  

Sign Up for E-News

Olean High School students count themselves among American participants for the first time.  

Organizer of the event, Olean High School junior, Zayba Chauhdry, felt this year, more than ever, the event would make a positive impact.  

"I wanted to do this event to stand up against bigotry and show solidarity in our school and community," Chauhdry said. "With what has happened in the past week, I thought it was vital that we should do this amazing event."  

Chauhdry felt that in a small community like Olean many people were unaware of what hijabs actually represent.   

"The definition of hijab is a head scarf," Chauhdry said. "Christians wear it, Jews wear it, nuns wear it. Mary, Jesus's mother, wore one. Why is it that when Muslim women wear hijabs people are scared and automatically stereotype them?" 

Chauhdry hoped participating in the event would help to minimize negative stigmas surrounding the traditional scarves.  

"A piece of cloth should most definitely not change someone's impression of you," Chauhdry said. "If this event changed anyone's perspective of women who wear hijabs in a good way, then I would feel that we accomplished something."  

Though many girls felt uncomfortable wearing hijabs, they offered words of encouragement and positivity to those participating, Chauhdry said.  

"It put a huge smile on my face," Chauhdry said. "This is what OHS is about—standing up for each other and showing our unity as a school. Hopefully, one day as a community and a nation."  

Chauhdry said she was thankful for the support she and her peers received and that she hopes this year marks the first of many World Hijab Days at OHS. 

"Even though I am only one person, I believe that I can make a change," Chauhdry said. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Greater Olean

'March for Our Lives' Started A Historic Movement

Shoes on the ground. People chanting. Signs held high. Music playing in the background.

It is the start of a historic movement. A moment when every race, gender and age came together as one. A movement that involved change and a March for Our Lives.

As a student journalist going out to the world, taking part in a national movement truly moved me. Reporting the significance of March for ...

Bonnies Historic Season Will Give Community Source of Pride Years to Come

ST. BONAVENTURE, NY -- The St. Bonaventure men’s basketball season came to an end earlier than the team had hoped. Coaches looked disappointed, and players covered their faces with towels. St. Bonaventure’s (26-8) loss to Florida (21-12) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament left many thinking what if?

However, the Bonnies historic season is nothing for the team to ...

Sights and Sounds: The First Four of the NCAA Tournament

Traffic is a common occurrence, but for fans of the Dayton Flyers, it’s a usual event every gameday. A trip across the Great Miami River leads to the Flyers’ athletic complex. It became the same ritual for Bonnies fans heading to the University of Dayton Arena for the team's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2012.

Snow, sleet and hail pounded down on the car as we ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, April 24, 10:00 AM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Simply Stories


Tue, April 24, 2:00 PM

Canticle Farm Market, Allegany

Canticle Farm Market

Tue, April 24, 2:00 PM

Olean Public Library, Olean

Preserving Family Recipes Webinar


Olean Litter Control Program Prepares for Spring

April 18, 2018

OLEAN, NY – Spring weather is approaching and the City of Olean Litter Control Program is armed with bags and gloves to start cleaning up the litter that winter has left behind.

“This year we are in great need of volunteers” said Lila Ervay, the committee’s chairman. “We currently have a number of volunteer groups consisting of schools, businesses, churches and ...

New Scholarship Dedicated to ALCS Teacher “Bernie” Taylor

ALLEGANY, NY -- The teachers that make learning simple and fun while connecting with students are often the ones most fondly remembered.

Bernadette “Bernie” Taylor was that kind of teacher at Allegany-Limestone Central School for more than 30 years according to her widower, Thomas Taylor.

“She had the skill of making chemistry easy. Chemistry tends to be tough for ...

'A Day in the Life': One Transportation Supervisor Serves Portville and Olean

PORTVILLE, NY – A whiteboard with dozens of destinations and vehicle numbers written in various colors sits inside the Portville bus garage, ready to be changed at any moment. David Youngs, the transportation supervisor of the Portville and Olean School Districts, knows that before 2 almost every afternoon, he is likely to receive an email changing the entire meticulously planned ...

'A Day in the Life' Follows Della Moore of the African American Center for Cultural Development

OLEAN, NY – When Della Moore walks down the street, she greets everyone she passes and makes sure to ask, “How are you doing?” 

From the moment I joined her at the 7-Eleven on a cloudy, cold December morning until we finished making our stops along State and North Union streets, she remained ...

'Day in the Life' Follows Warehouse Selector Justus Elliot

OLEAN, NY -- For Justus Elliot, time and pace are essential. As a warehouse selector for Olean Wholesale Grocery Co-Op, most of the 21-year-old’s job calls for efficiency.

“Everything is time-based," Elliot explained. "One hundred percent is the norm, and it’s what we work for every day. If our score is less, then we are moving too slow, and we kick it into ...

Happy Veterans Day, Mom

What began as an attempt to boost her GPA soon turned into a 22-year career for my mom, Ramona Lee Discavage.

On the first day of her freshman year at St. Bonaventure University in 1989, members of the Army ROTC Seneca Battalion helped incoming freshmen move their stuff into their dorm rooms.  Afterward, they invited all of the freshmen to a lunch.

“When they described the ...

Lynn Kemp: ‘Best Soldier I Could Be’

Lynn Kemp is nearing 95 and knows he has lived a good life.

“The good Lord has been awful good to me,” recalled the lifelong resident of Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. “I never refused an order. I tried to be the best soldier I could be. I don’t know what your relationship is with God, but mine is pretty close.”

Born Oct. 29, 1920, Lynn grew up in a home on Turkey ...

WW II museum provides role models for young people

When Steve Appleby asks area students if they know Snoop Dog, Eminem, Kanye West, the Kardashians, Parris Hilton or Miley Cyrus, they answer yes. Then Appleby will ask which of them knows Jason Dunham is, and the students will not have a clue.

Appleby will explain that Jason Dunham was a Marine from Scio, in Allegany County, New York, who was killed in Iraq in 2006 after jumping on a grenade ...