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Manal was born with a birthmark on her face, and in a South Asian community where skin color is also often stigmatized, Manal’s self confidence suffered. After experimenting with skin lightening techniques, Manal realized her confidence needed to come from within and she vowed to help other young girls see themselves in a positive light.

Graduating from her selective enrollment high school with a 4.0 GPA, Manal also leaves her mark as president of the Student Humanitarian Organization, president of the Chinese National Honor Society, and president of the recycling club. Manal’s empathy shined as she mentored a Northside freshman who was feeling inadequate while now surrounded by many other gifted students: “Manal, having experienced this herself when she transitioned to Northside, was able to make a connection with her student. The student no longer felt like he was the only person who had felt unsure of himself, and with the empathy Manal displayed, the student was reassured this was a safe place.”