Humans of Harker: A piece of creativity

Amla Rashingkar (12) expresses her love for creating and the arts


Amruta Dharmapurikar and Sabrina Zhu

“When there’s not a way made out for me, I want to make it myself. In difficult times, I always remember, your body hasn’t given up yet. And if your body hasn’t, your mind can’t either,” Amla Rashingkar (12) said.

Drawing her bow and gently plucking the delicate strings of her viola, Amla Rashingkar (12) smiles at the group of young musicians behind her as she leads her section in the Harker Orchestra. Her eyes focus on the sheet music on the metal stand in front of her, and she furrows her brows in concentration. As she lifts her bow and plays the final notes of the piece “American in Paris,” Amla lets out a sigh of relief and finishes the song with a satisfied look on her face.

“Music is a huge part of my life,” Amla said. “I’m Indian you know, so my parents were like ‘you’re three it’s time to start the piano.’”

After playing the piano for years and singing in the middle school, Amla ultimately settled on the viola in eighth grade.

“I don’t know if I’d be the same person without music that I am now, because it’s just allowed me to express myself and to learn about other people,” she said. 

Although Amla only began to play the viola in eighth grade, her motivation and quick learning helped her become a first chair in the school’s orchestra. 

Dr. David Hart, the orchestra director of the upper school, attributes her section chair position to her tireless dedication. She has demonstrated her dedication through four years of playing, including her engaging personality and willingness to listen.

“She wanted to play viola, and I was like, sure, give it a shot. And so she picked up this new instrument, jumped into high school, and took off,” Dr. Hart said. 

Throughout her career as a violist, Amla has also developed her leadership skills which come useful as a section chair. Even though she does not consider herself the best player, she says her other traits have proven helpful.

“I would never consider myself as the best player there. I’d consider myself the oldest and the best leader, and someone who happens to have a lot of playing ability,” Amla said.

Her teachers also recognize her leadership abilities in class and her ability to aid other students when they’re having trouble.

“She’s always good at communicating [criticism] in a respectful way and also taking ownership of that leadership role,” Dr. Hart said. 

Stepping into this position has come with many difficulties such as organizing rehearsals, and she puts other people’s priorities in mind when planning practices. Sometimes, Amla faces adversity with motivation and students’ tight schedules.

“It’s really hard as a leader sometimes to get people to care about something as much as you do, and there are times where you just can’t,” Amla said.

She has found that through encouragement, she has earned the respect of her fellow musicians. Amla is now able to develop other students’ love for music and playing an instrument. 

Amla’s passion for the arts and humanities has spread to other areas, as well. She is currently the editor in chief of HELM, Harker’s humanity magazine, and she has written and read countless short stories and poems. 

“Creating things is just so beautiful. Like something didn’t exist before, but because of me, now it’s real. It’s a great way to connect with people,” Amla said. 

Her love for creating and inspiring others includes a fun hobby of hers, making memes. Known as the “meme queen” by her friends and others in her school, she has designed many of these jokes and been applauded by others for her hilarious pieces. 

“I remember I became big on the meme page when I was a sophomore, and upperclassmen would come up to me and be like, ‘I love what you posted’. And it was terrifying for me as a sophomore that upperclassmen knew my name, but people cared about what I had to think. People cared about what I had to say, so I just keep creating and doing it more,” Amla said.

Amla’s unwavering perseverance has also been visible to everyone around her. 

“She’s very ambitious, and, anything she wants to do, if she set her heart on it, she will succeed in that field,” Katelyn Chen (12), Amla’s close friend, said.

Acquiring opportunities has not always been easy for Amla, but with her ambitious personality and her ability to work well with others, she has managed to find paths and be successful.

“When there’s not a way made out for me, I want to make it myself,” Amla said. “In difficult times, I always remember, your body hasn’t given up yet. And if your body hasn’t, your mind can’t either.”

Her motivation has inspired others as well to persevere through times of difficulty and to spread joy. She is known to always be able to make people instantly happier.

“She has a super fun and bubbly personality and can lighten anyone’s mood. When people see her they just smile,” Katerina Fenner (11), a close friend of Amla’s, said. “She works well with others and genuinely cares.”

Amla’s high school story is filled with her incredible viola skills, hilarious memes, and her creative and motivational personality, and she hopes to leave her mark through the connections she forges with others.

“I just want to be remembered as someone who made opportunities for herself and made everyone smile … because I find something so beautiful in being able to connect with everyone and making someone laugh. Even if it’s just for a moment, someone was happier,” Amla said.