Humans of Harker: Passion for the people

Rohan Arora (12) volunteers to change the lives of others

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Alysa Suleiman

“I hope … that my perception to the world is that I'm a difference-maker. With the activism that I've been a part of from the MS Society to starting my own non-profit devoted to helping financially strapped MS patients in the SF Bay Area and giving them some financial support through donations that we get to make their lives a little bit easier, I hope that I have been making a difference in people's lives,” Rohan Arora (12) said.

Standing in the Japanese classroom, a smile flits across his face as Rohan Arora (12) enthusiastically writes characters in Japanese on the whiteboard, each stroke, line, and mark slowly completing the meaning of the word. Silence fills the room with the exception of the faint squeaking of the marker as it meets the board. His expression melts back into a focused look as he adds the last character, stepping back to survey the final, meaningful word: difference. 

Rohan always aims to make a difference and impact the world, and he does this through various outlets. One of the most significant parts of Rohan’s life is Japanese, a language that he is enthusiastic about, and as a member of the Japanese National Honor Society (JNHS), he travels to the middle school to mentor and help younger students with Japanese.

“I remember, I had times when I struggled, some of my friends had times when they struggled, but we eventually got through it and it’s really gratifying to me to be able to give back to my community and my middle school teacher,” Rohan said. 

Not only does Rohan give back through JNHS, he also gives back through his work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. When he was four years old, his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. 

“It was hard to grow up with that in the family, especially with someone like my mom, but it sort of forced me to get through it regardless and take a leadership role in my household for my two sisters,” Rohan said. “Through my hardship, I’ve been able to work with like-minded people to raise awareness and funding for a cure to MS, which has been very, very gratifying for me,” Rohan said. 

Rohan has also started a non-profit in which he helps provide financial assistance to patients struggling with multiple sclerosis. 

“A lot of people don’t have families around them, they don’t have much money, they’re just barely scraping by in life, and on top of that, they’re dealing with such a terrible disease, so that really really broke my heart … So that really motivated me to want to make a difference in those people’s lives,” Rohan said. 

In addition to his focus on giving back and helping others, Rohan’s kind, outgoing personality has made a difference in the lives of both his friends and teachers. 

“He likes to interact with others and he always shows his emotions. He just doesn’t hold back. He expresses himself a lot,” said Darshan Chahal (12), one of Rohan’s close friends. 

His friends also appreciate that they can talk to him about anything. Rohan Sonecha (12), another friend of Rohan’s, recognizes the value of this trait. 

“With a lot of other guys, you always think you can only talk to them about the lighthearted fun stuff, but with Rohan, you know he’s there for you if you need to talk to him about the more serious things,” Sonecha said. 

His compassionate personality has also enabled him to connect with teachers in his community, one of them being Andrew Irvine, Rohan’s chemistry teacher in sophomore year. 

“He’s a very caring, empathetic individual who has a lot to offer the world,” Irvine said. 

While his dedication to giving back to his community is evident through his work with both JNHS and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it also shines through his own music, or beats, that he creates. Inspired to start making music after watching performances of his favorite artists on Youtube, he began creating beats, and one of his ideas is to create music within his own community.

“He wants to make music as a community, that’s how he described it to me, so he has a friend who’s really good at singing, some his friends play guitar, so he’s trying to take short snippets of them doing their music … he’ll record those sounds and incorporate them into his own beats,” Sonecha said. 

Sonecha also recognizes how no matter what happens, Rohan will not let it influence his actions and choices. 

“He’ll send me snippets of what he’s working on, and he reaches out to musicians to sing over the beats, and even when things don’t work out or if they do work out, he doesn’t let that affect him too much,” Sonecha said. 

Whether through his music, JNHS, or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Rohan is dedicated to leaving his mark in the world. 

“I hope … that my perception to the world is that I’m a difference-maker. With the activism that I’ve been a part of from the MS Society to starting my own non-profit devoted to helping financially strapped MS patients in the SF Bay Area and giving them some financial support through donations that we get to make their lives a little bit easier, I hope that I have been making a difference in people’s lives,” Rohan said.