In-Depth Post #3

With each day passing by quickly and counting down the days to In-depth, I thank myself for picking such an intricate yet fascinating skill to learn and master. Learning more and more about Arabic everyday has made regret not starting this before. I have completely fell in love with learning and getting better with this language. As well as, being able to step out of my comfort zone and try things that I usually wouldn’t try. Being a high level athlete, I find myself much more inclined to choose skills that are more athlete/activity related; however, I am so thrilled that I gave myself the opportunity to try something new and develop skills that I was not aware I possessed. When I am with my mentor, learning Arabic, I feel relaxed and loose just like how
I feel on the field, making the experience that much better. On the note of my mentor, Her and I have been connecting very well and I feel myself progressing all the time.

In the past two weeks, I have mastered the alphabet and I am almost perfect with writing them all out using the Nuqta correctly and in the right position. I am able to put more and more words together and identify them as well. In relation to this, I am able to sound out words very well and read basic sentence even though, I may not know how to scribe them yet, by knowing the letters my reading will become better with practice. In these next two weeks, I hope to being able to put basic sentences together and to have the alphabet mastered on and off the paper. Like I mentioned in my last blog post, having my family to help me when I get stuck is a big bonus for me as I am able to progress faster each and every week.

Learning all this information can also be overwhelming, that is why I try to ask many clarifying questions on how to make my life easier when trying to learn such an intricate and elegant language in just 5 months. Whenever I meet with my mentor, Maysa, I always try to ask her at least one question that will benefit me for the next time. For example, I know that I am struggling a little bit with the Nuqta and where to position it on certain letters; so, I asked Maysa what are some good strategies that will help me remember where the Nuqta goes and begin to come to me automatically? She responded giving me suggestions on how I can improve. Some of the suggestions she supplied me with were: keep writing them out until the skill becomes automatic, make small flash cards of the letters that you are having troubles with, or to write out words that involve the Nuqta and see if I can place them in correct spots. All these suggestions have helped me get better and become more automatic with Arabic.

Arabic overall has definitely been an interesting process and learning it has been great. Constantly learning new things and getting better is my definition of interesting and I couldn’t be happier with skill I chose.

I hope you enjoy reading this week! :) See you all back in a few!

In-Depth Post #2

Wow! Week 3 already! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun, and let me be the first to tell you that this has been nothing but fun for me so far. My mentor and I are making great progress and the additional help I am receiving from home is also very helpful. When learning new language patterns, phrases, letters, and writing skills I am able to practice at home with the reassurance that I am performing the skills correctly, which has been very helpful throughout these past couple of weeks. The language of Arabic is very fascinating and the more I learn the more I love my heritage language. Learning how to read and write has also helped me comprehend and speak the language more efficiently. Maysa, my mentor and I have been going through the letters and basic words to get me rolling. She has also been teaching me about the letter combinations and how some letters’ orientation might change due to different combinations with other letters

the Arabic alphabet

for certain words. She has also been teaching me about the Nuqta which is the tiny dots that go below or on top of the letter to distinguish which letter it is since many letters in the Arabic alphabet resemble each other. Furthermore, in the next couple of weeks I hope to have the letters memorized and beginning to write out more complex words and maybe begin to put phrases together. With the extra help I have, I know I can push my limits to learn as much as I possibly can in the next 5 months.

Below, I have my answers to the concepts in How to Have a Beautiful Mind that were discussed in Ms.Mulder’s blog post:

In terms of How to Agree, there has been a lot of difficulty of choosing a specific day and time for me to meet Maysa. This is because of my busy and full schedule. Being involved in high level soccer, TALONS, and currently basketball for the school we haven’t yet set a regular day to meet since my availability varies. However, when we do see each other, I provide her with my schedule for next week so that we can arrange a day that we both agree will work. We also discussed that once basketball is over, we believe we will have more options as practices occur almost everyday for basketball. We also agreed on talking about upcoming months as well, since I will be travelling for a few days with my soccer team. So far, the cooperation has been good on both sides and we have dealt with the problems in a very beautiful way; without any concerns or troubles.

Now, in terms of How to Disagree. Considering Maysa has loads of experience over me, she usually decides what we will be focusing on for each lesson. Since we are not too far into this year’s In-Depth, I have not disagreed with any of Maysa’s decisions. Moreover, as the study continues, I hope to start picking the lessons for day because of certain skills I may want to brush up on and improve on before In-depth Night occurs. However, for now, I have not yet found something to disagree with and I will not be looking for it for the sake of disagreeing. I truly appreciate all of Maysa’s work and I will continue to follow her lead until I see something that I absolutely cannot stand.

Lastly, I will address the concept of How to Differ. Maysa and I both think that it is very important to know how to read and write your heritage language as it helps with family, distant family, and family friends. It is also important so that you can hopefully pass it on to further generations. This is something that I agree with because I believe that your heritage is apart of you and it is sad to lose something so close to you. Like our disagreements, our opinions about the present haven’t differed much either. I trust her decisions and so far everything seems to be working out. I’m sure in the future there might be things to discuss; however, for now I am happy with my progress with my mentor and more importantly my work.

I hope you enjoyed reading this week! Stay tuned :)

The Challenges of Leadership

Challenge 1) When put into a stressful situation I do my best to remain calm and attempt to talk through the problem or whatever it may be that is causing stress. By remaining calm, it helps me keep my cool and to view the situation in a stress free way. On the other hand, If I were to be panicked and flustered it would make matters worse and it wouldn’t be the best way to deal with the tension in a stressful situation.

Challenge 2) I know as a leader sometimes we maybe unaware that we are leading ineffectively so, in those types of situations I try to suggest ways in which it the leader can be effective. It is also helpful when you have a solid relationship with you leader as it can help when trying to add value helping them with their weaknesses but also appreciating their strengths as well.

Challenge 3) Change is good. It helps us adapt to situations we are not comfortable with and step into our courage zone. Personally, I feel like I react to change fairly well. For example, Waleed and I came from a middle school outside of the Gleneagle catchment meaning that we were forced to adapt to a new school with new friends and whole new school lives. However, with this change I developed relationships with new people and new teachers. This change also helped me become more flexible around people I didn’t know to make and build friendships with others. For the future, I think that I can try to talk to more people without the same interests as me to build connections with other types of people.

Challenge 4) I tend to focus more energy on the production of the product rather than the promotion because if you produce a quality product it will promote itself. Rather than working so hard on promoting an item that is thoroughly worked on making the promotions useless. For example, when watching advertisements on TV and you see a product you like due to all the great promotions but the product is nothing like the ads then you are less likely to trust their promotions. Where as, if the product was better that the promotions you will remember it next time you want a certain product.

Challenge 5) Getting that W as a team is a always a rewarding feeling especially when you put in all that hard work. I am familiar with the feeling playing a team sport and all. Although individual praise or recognition is always nice, we all worked together as a team to achieve the main goal. Personally, I think that when working with a team you win together, lose together, and work together.
TEAM : together everyone achieves more

Challenge 6) Personally, I believe that it is important to always help others in achieving greatness because it feels good and you learn a lot. Relating to the fulfillment challenge, when you help an individual with their goal or vision it feels like a team effort which I always think is great because 2 brains is always better than 1.

Challenge 7) Caring about your team is definitely one of the keys to success. As a member on a soccer team I know that encouragement and motivation is the one thing that can change the game entirely when fighting through adversity. Asking about my teammates and encouraging them is how I show that I care about my team.

The Myths of Leadership

Below, I have the seven responses to the seven myth of leadership questions I chose to answer:

Myth 1) A unique skill that I possess is my competitive edge. I think that this edge helps motivates my peers to continue to do better and to always aim high. Personally, I know that I always look to get better at what it is I am doing and I believe that my competitiveness passes on to always aim high and strive for more.

Myth 2) I am currently learning how to lead through the TALONS Program which also gives me plenty of opportunities to lead in and out of the classroom. Examples like adventure trip planning and committee work help my communication skills, organization, and assertiveness when developing my leadership skills. I also have a handful of opportunities to lead with my soccer team. This also helps with my communication skills as well as helping me how to lead by example.

Myth 3) When I lead, I aim to always be confident, positive, and helpful to ensure that majority of the people follow me. When being lead, I look for the same thing this is because I can feel better about who I’m following and it also makes things much more pleasant when you are being lead by an individual who is confident and positive.

Myth 4) When having a discussion, I feel that is always important to hear what everyone has to say for the reason that if we only listen to one person we only get one perspective rather than 4 (quads). When talking to my quadmates I always ask if anyone else would like to add anything to add to the discussion to make sure that I am giving everyone an opportunity to speak and voice their opinions.

Myth 5) I believe that when one does move up in an organization, the weight of one’s responsibility increases. Personally, I witness this frequently during sports. When becoming a starter on the field your responsibility as a player is to do your job on the field whatever that may be. Of course you are going to make mistakes, however, it is how many you make and if it is always the same error as strikes the coach with doubt. Conversely, as a non starter it does not mean that it is time to slack off. The starters must continue to work hard to remain a starter.

Myth 6) I believe that I am capable of achieving anything if I put my mind to it. Specifically in Leadership, I know that I am capable of becoming a stronger and more confident leader by always taking opportunities to lead and improve my skills as a leader. Reaching my full potential would be being able to lead a group in an organized fashion confidently. It also would be perfecting my leadership skills where there are just minor bugs to fix here and there.

Myth 7) We all have dreams and ambitions, the percentage of all those working out? Not very high. However, that most definitely suggest that you just drop leading all together. Leadership is an important trait to have for many jobs and opportunities that might open other doors for you in the future if you continue to work and develop as a leader; and who knows? Maybe after all that hard work you may become a CEO of a company or an organization.   

In-Depth Post #1: Salam Alaikum

Salam Alaikum (Hello)! Some of you may already be able to tell that I have chosen Arabic (write and read) for my In-Depth study this year. I am personally very excited to start my In-Depth this year because it is a skill that I think will be useful to me in the near and far future. Since it is a language I already speak at home, this topic stood out to me because I would not only have my mentor to teach me but I would also have two mentors at home to help me with any additional questions I have before I meet with my mentor again. Another reason why I chose how to write and read Arabic is because it is a skill that I want to keep with me until I grow up and have my own kids to then I will be able to teach them Arabic and continue the life of the language in my family. I also think that learning how to read and write a language will be extremely difficult but is a challenge that I think that I will not only enjoy but complete successfully as well.

Now, I realize that 6 months is not nearly enough time to become an expert on how to write and read Arabic or any language at that matter. However, I believe that the goals that I have mapped out for myself are timely, realistic, and achievable, tying in to our SMART goals. Without further a due, here are my goals I have for In-Depth 2015:

1) Knowing all the letters and their sounds

2) Being able to read and understand sentences and short paragraphs in Arabic

3) Being able to write sentences and short paragraphs

4) Able to read children’s stories

5) Being able to write a composition describing me

I think that these goals are all achievable if I work hard and stay to a 1 time per week mentor session with my mentor, Maysa Habob.

I am fortunate to have found a mentor that is willing to teach me how to read and write Arabic for 5 months because without her I would not be able to pursue my Arabic studies for this year. I am not too familiar with my mentor so I am excited to get to know her as a person and as a teacher. I think it is important to have a good student-teacher relationship because I know that for me personally I will be able to understand and trust the person easier if I know a little bit about them first. I also think it is a good chance for me to broaden my horizons and make new connections with people that I don’t know that maybe will become useful to me in the future as well. Nonetheless, I am itching to begin learning how to read and write Arabic with my mentor, Maysa.

To conclude, I would just like to say that I enjoy this project very much because it gives us, TALONS students to find new passions that we might not know we are passionate about and to take that passion and do something with it. Similarly, with the assembly we recently had, maybe In-Depth will spark our fire and we might be able to continue forward with the new skill we learned. I believe it is moments like these that define us as TALONS students. Being able to take that breath and embrace it because we never know where it might take us.


Surprisingly enough, there were actually a lot more articles and information about Dana than I expected. I really benefited from all of  them with additional dhepinformation that I had during my learning centre, with my speech, and with my blog posts. I also watched some short videos on YouTube about Dana. One has an english translation and the other one is in Arabic which I got my mom to help translate the parts that I did not understand. Nonetheless, here are all the sources I used for my information during this year’s eminent person study.


–  just general information about Dana,28804,1819129_1819134_1826062,00.html

– this article talks about some adversity she went through and few accomplishments

– here are some quotes I was looking at to help me get a better understanding of the type person Dana was

– this article talks about when Dana was again allowed to participate in the Olympic games after Iraq was disqualified due to political reasons

– these two articles talk about the obstacles she goes through on her training ground


– both videos are about her love for running and a little bit about she does

– also talk about her personal life and little bit about her


– just simple pictures I used in my blog posts

In-depth Learning Centre

In-depth is right around the corner and I for one am very excited to show off my talent. These past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to train and meet up with Joel as I’d like to due to other commitments and my busy busy schedule. However, when I did train it was successful as I begin to brush up my skills that I have learned over the course of these past months. I can’t believe that in-depth is almost over as I have enjoyed every minute of it. It has been a great experience for me and I can’t wait to pick and learn a new skill next year.

Moreover, for my learning centre I have decided that the most appropriate setting for it to be in would be the gym considering that I am doing something that involves athletics so I believe that gym is a appropriate area for me to set up my learning centre in. Furthermore, I plan of borrowing Jamie’s punching bag that Eric used during the night of the notables. Along with table that will have my boxing gloves, helmet, and shoes for display. In addition, I will also have a poster board of information about boxing and some action pictures of me training by myself. I hope for my learning centre to look appealing and engaging. I want many people to be attracted to it as I want as many people as possible to look at my progress and development throughout this process. Originally I was going to be demonstrating all the things I’ve learned, however, I will need to inspect the stability of the punching bags and I also do not want to be a distraction to other learning centres. Although if a parent, or student, or teacher ask me to demonstrate a skill I will be more than happy to show them a few punches or kicks. For my poster board, I plan on having more pictures than words as I don’t want to bore people with a whole bunch of writing.

To conclude, I am very excited for this night to come so that I can finally show off my skills and progress to everyone waiting to see. It is crazy to think that 5 months ago no one knew anything about their skill that they are experts at now! It is unbelievable to see everyones passion and love for what they are learning during this in-depth study. Like I said before I am excited for the big night and will continue to work hard until then :)

In-Depth Post #5

Holy smokes! Time sure does fly when you’re having fun; and that is all I have been having during this wonderful learning experience. I absolutely love boxing now and I am so happy that I decided to learn it. I continue to expand my knowledge about the sport and I continue to improve and grow as a boxer. It has also helped me with my physical strength and athleticism when I play other sports or do other activities. Boxing continues to get more challenging but it only makes me want to keep on going. Joel and I are connecting really well on a personal level and in the gym. Meeting with him is always a positive because I continue to learn about him as a person and I always receive feedback on my progress.

Last Tuesday I met up with Joel to talk about my progress and he told me that I continue to improve daily with my techniques such as punching, kicking, and dodging. He also mentioned that I struggle a little bit with the different types of kicks as I sometimes am not capable of doing a certain motion right away; however, he assured me that with more practice it will come more and more naturally. Joel also talked about how I’ve impressed him with how quickly I pick up on things and how I am very coachable and fun person to teach. This makes me very happy as I also enjoy his company and enjoy my time when being coached by him. When I think about when I first started to now, it is amazing how much things I have managed to accomplish in just 12 weeks. Many thanks to my mentor Joel for helping me and coaching me to become a better boxer and a better athlete.

 What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

Joel does an excellent job with making sure I know all the techniques and checking if I understand how to perform the skill. Joel also uses videos and makes me watch some more experienced boxers while at the gym. This has helped me a lot because sometimes seeing it visually helps me understand it more clearly. When we get together he also watches the videos with me and pauses it to explain the moves being performed and the skills need to learn with them which also helps me understand the sport better in and out of the gym.

When you get together what do you talk about?

As I said before, when Joel and I get together we begin to talk about my progress, my positives, and my negatives. We will go over that and he will usually give me an example video of other boxers and we will watch it together and he will break it down for me so I understand it better. After we finish talking about boxing we usually take it to a more personal level and talk about our day and such. I definitely feel much more comfortable around him now and it is much easier to open up to him and talk about my personal life with him. As I mentioned before in earlier posts, I want to be able to know Joel and be able to talk to him about anything and I think that I am slowly reaching that goal.

What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

I think something that is going particular well in my relationship with Joel is how much we actually have in common and how much we understand each other. For example, we were both student athletes, we both have a big passion for our sports, and we love to be physically active all the time as it helps us forget about everything happening and just get into the sport or activity. He has taught me so much and I am so grateful to have him work with me. I assure you that you will not be disappointed on In-depth night.

‘Till next time!

Thank you

In-Depth Post #4

WOW! Here we are again! It feels like just yesterday that I was addressing my progress to you. Looks like that’s what happens when you’re working hard and having fun. Nonetheless, I am here to talk about my progress and questions that were assigned for us to answer.

Eight weeks in and my progress is still consistent and smooth. I learn something new every session and I have definitely improved quite a bit during the last couple of weeks. I’m not going to lie though, the last couple of weeks have also definitely been a bit more challenging however, It feels great to know that even though training may be getting harder I always want to go back learn more and more skills. Already being an athlete, some movements come naturally to me however, there are some movements that can get a bit difficult at times such as dodging and ducking punches or kicks. Lateral and up and down movement come quite easy for me as I already use them when I play soccer. Moreover, my kicks and punches have improved technique wise and Joel says that they will continue to improve over time. I’m still going in only once a week either on Tuesday or Thursday for about 2 hours which is more than enough time to learn and improve on my skills and techniques. I should be meeting with him again sometime next week to talk about my progress and area of improvement.


1) The most difficult mentoring challenge so far has definitely been finding time to meet and talk face to face about my progress and area of improvement. This is because, we both have very tight schedules that it makes it hard to find a day where both of us are free to meet for a couple of hours or so. However, we both put in equal effort to meet at least once a week even though it may not always work out. However, when we do meet, Joel and I talk about a lot and we get to know each other better and better each time which has definitely helped with our communication and our comfort around one another.

2) Despite not always being able to meet with Joel, the relationship that we are building and forming is definitely going well. Even though he his supposed to teach me boxing, when I meet with him I also like to talk to him about me and my life because it helps me become more comfortable and relaxed around him. For example, If I need some advice for school I’ll ask him and he will give it to me which makes me feel like I can trust him not just as a boxing mentor but as a life mentor too.

3) I think that time management could be working a bit better because I would like to be meeting with him every week and ensure that we do so because I think that it is important to see him at least once a week outside of the gym to talk about my progress and improvement. To make sure this happens, the next time I see Joel I’ll make sure to talk about our schedules again and see if we could meet once a week outside of the gym to talk about my progress in boxing. Skyping or talking on the phone could also be an option if meeting somewhere cannot work at all.

Well, that is it for me. Until next time, TALONS!