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Humans of Harker: Jay Ali focuses on self-improvement

+%E2%80%9CA+couple+years+ago%2C+I+had+a+blood+test%2C+and+my+doctor+said+I+had+to+watch+out+for+pre-diabetes%2C%22+Jay+Ali+said.+%22My+family+has+a+history+of+having+diabetes+and+a+bunch+of+diseases.+I%E2%80%99ve+seen+my+grandma+inject+insulin+in+her+body+every+day%2C+and+I+decided+I+didn%E2%80%99t+want+to+go+down+that+path.+I+started+working+out+every+day+and+trying+to+get+in+shape%2C+because+I+didn%E2%80%99t+want+to+have+diabetes+for+the+rest+of+my+life.+I+think+health+is+really+important+because+without+health%2C+nothing+else+is+important+in+life.+For+example%2C+Steve+Jobs.+He+didn%E2%80%99t+have+such+a+healthy+body%2C+but+he+was+a+really+special+guy+to+everyone+else.+I+kind+of+want+to+be+that+guy%2C+but+with+no+health+issues+so+I+can+live+my+life+to+the+fullest.%22
 “A couple years ago, I had a blood test, and my doctor said I had to watch out for pre-diabetes,

“A couple years ago, I had a blood test, and my doctor said I had to watch out for pre-diabetes," Jay Ali said. "My family has a history of having diabetes and a bunch of diseases. I’ve seen my grandma inject insulin in her body every day, and I decided I didn’t want to go down that path. I started working out every day and trying to get in shape, because I didn’t want to have diabetes for the rest of my life. I think health is really important because without health, nothing else is important in life. For example, Steve Jobs. He didn’t have such a healthy body, but he was a really special guy to everyone else. I kind of want to be that guy, but with no health issues so I can live my life to the fullest."

Melissa Kwan

Melissa Kwan

“A couple years ago, I had a blood test, and my doctor said I had to watch out for pre-diabetes," Jay Ali said. "My family has a history of having diabetes and a bunch of diseases. I’ve seen my grandma inject insulin in her body every day, and I decided I didn’t want to go down that path. I started working out every day and trying to get in shape, because I didn’t want to have diabetes for the rest of my life. I think health is really important because without health, nothing else is important in life. For example, Steve Jobs. He didn’t have such a healthy body, but he was a really special guy to everyone else. I kind of want to be that guy, but with no health issues so I can live my life to the fullest."

by Nilisha Baid, Reporter

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Jay Ali (12) plays the bassoon — an instrument most people don’t recognize.

“At the beginning, I wasn’t that good,” he said. “I was last chair, and there were four others ahead of me. I always got the non-important pieces, so I kind of felt bad in the beginning. Then I got to high school, and I had a new group of members with me, so they really supported me, and it kind of sparked my interest in bassoon. Now I really enjoy playing it every day, and I’m first chair now, so I have big solos, so I think it’s kind of exciting to be a unique part.”

And he also plays piano, a more “mainstream” instrument.

“For piano, in the beginning I didn’t really like it, but after three or four years, I had a new teacher, and she was very different,” he said. “The first teacher told me, ‘Go practice at home and figure it out yourself,’ but the second teacher, she actually really helped me a lot. She basically guided me to become better at piano.”

He joined the Certificate of Merit program a few years after he started, and since then, he’s reached the highest level.

“First, my teacher proposed the idea to me,” he said of the program. “As a person, I like to finish what I start. I tried to reach the highest level the fastest I can, so I tried hard and hard, and I went through all the levels. I even skipped a few levels, and now I’m at level ten. I think it’s kind of unique because a lot of people, they start something and they don’t finish it. I think perseverance plays a big part in my life.”

Rishi Chopra (12) recognized Jay’s strong work ethic.

“He keeps on working hard,” Rishi said. “That’s the easiest thing to see in him because if he doesn’t do well in an assessment or he doesn’t do well at something one time, he’ll be pushing his butt trying to improve every time no matter what it is.”

Jay has extended his perseverance to his health as well, prompted by his family history.

“A couple years ago, I had a blood test, and my doctor said I had to watch out for pre-diabetes,” he said. “My family has a history of having diabetes and a bunch of diseases. I’ve seen my grandma inject insulin in her body every day, and I decided I didn’t want to go down that path. I started working out every day and trying to get in shape because I didn’t want to have diabetes for the rest of my life. Once you have it, it’s really really hard to come back from, so I think health is really important because without health, nothing else is important in life. For example, Steve Jobs. He didn’t have such a healthy body but he was a really special guy to everyone else. I kind of want to be that guy, but also with no health issues so I can live my life to the fullest.”

Determined to resist the pull of genetics, Jay focuses on his personal health.

“I aspire to be a physically fit person and to show others that I started off miserable, but now look where I am,” he said.

Jay aims to help others seize control of their own lives through community service. He has volunteered in Pakistan and Africa, as well as at his local mosque.

“I serve duty over [at my mosque], so I usher people inside the prayer hall or I give water to the seniors if they’re coughing or they need water,” he said. “I help clean the bathrooms; I help vacuum the area. I basically help keep the sanctity of the prayer house.”

Years of volunteering has given Jay an altruistic perspective.

“I first joined my duty at age nine or ten, and I’ve been doing it ever since then. I always get that feeling of, I’m doing something better for the world, not for myself, and I like to experience that, when I know I’m helping others rather than myself,” he said. “I’d like other people to remember me like, ‘He did that favor for me.’ If other people remember me as a helpful person, then my job is fulfilled.”

1 Comment

One Response to “Humans of Harker: Jay Ali focuses on self-improvement”

  1. Anita on March 27th, 2018 11:03 am

    Self realization is the key to success and you are turning failures into opportunities. Great motivation. Thanks to Harker and their awesome teachers that we are raising such successful students.

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Humans of Harker: Jay Ali focuses on self-improvement