Humans of Harker: Cheez-its and chuckles

With passion and consideration, Anna Arnaudova brings life to every room


Shreya Srinivasan

“Everything happens for a reason, so in my mind, there’s going to be a class or a professor, or an assignment or something that leads me somewhere. That’s my vision … [and] we’ll see [how it ends up],” Anna Arnaudova (12) said.

Seeing Anna Arnaudova (12) arrive at school with a box of Cheez-its on Mondays is not an unusual sight for classmates and teachers. Anna has grown fond of the Harker community from her time at Harker since she was in kindergarten and shows her care and compassion in unique ways, one being bringing Cheez-its to share with those around her.

“A lot of the freshmen last year knew me as Cheez-its girl. Cheez-its are great, obviously, there’s no debating that, but it was more of an ‘everyone hates Monday’ sort of thing. So why don’t I do something about it? There’s always, no matter what, a kid that has a test, a kid that had a bad weekend, a kid that doesn’t want to be here, or a kid that recognizes that it’s Monday,” Anna said.

A stop by Target to purchase a box of Cheez-its every Sunday became a part of a routine for Anna, who finds great happiness in improving the lives of others.

“She does things that people wouldn’t normally do,” Shreya Srinivasan (12), a close friend of Anna’s since seventh grade, said. “Everyone would be super excited whenever they saw that she brought her Cheez-its, and that speaks a lot to the fact that she doesn’t care that much about what other people think. She does what she wants to do, and that’s very admirable.”

Arriving at school with a pair of bright, colorful Vans, Anna is not scared to be happy and free being her true self, embracing her personality without care of what others think. Anna’s thoughtful and considerate nature spreads to her friends and loved ones in addition to the Harker community.

“She has a very nice balance where she can either be super funny or super serious or very caring, and I think she knows when to joke about situations and when not to,” Shreya said.

Close friend Ruya Ozveren (12), who Anna has known since elementary school, recalls when the two were on a roller coaster at Great America.

“She grabbed my hand and held onto me, and in that moment, I didn’t feel alone. Even though it was a dark tunnel, even though we were shooting down … she held onto me and didn’t let me go. And she’s not scared at all of these things. Even though it was a small gesture, that was one of the biggest moments in my life where I felt the closest or the most safe and secure with someone, even though it’s a cheesy story,” Ruya said.

With her social and bubbly personality, Anna does not shy away from interacting with everyone in her grade.

“I made an effort to have a conversation with every single person in our grade before we graduate. I’m pretty sure I did that. That was important to me to do, because I don’t think that 200 people is that many, especially when you’re looking at sizes of college classes. I feel like I can walk down the hallway and say ‘hi’ to anyone from my class, and it wouldn’t be that awkward. That was my goal by graduation,” Anna said.

Other than sharing Cheez-its with others and socializing with almost anyone, Anna has found her passion for learning at school. Ever since the age of 4, she has had a mentality for wanting to exceed expectations, exhibited by the paper she wrote for extra credit currently framed on her wall.

“For an English class last semester, I was like, ‘Should I do a poem or should I do a collage?’ And I was like, ‘I’ll do both.’ And my teacher was like, ‘That’ll take you too much time. Don’t do that.’ And I was like, ‘But you see, I already came up with both of them. So I’m going to do both because that’s how my brain works,’” Anna said.

Anna utilizes her determination and hard-working attitude in other aspects, like water polo, which is a major part of her life. When she first started, despite breaking her thumb after a minute and a half of playing and wanting to quit, she found motivation to keep playing and fought resiliently for three years to be goalie until she finally got the position.

She finds enjoyment in enriching her mind with intellectual material, like playing Sudoku, listening to podcasts and watching crime documentaries. She also likes to volunteer at Walden West, a summer camp, where she has made many meaningful connections.

“From her stories, it’s very clear that she makes the most of every situation. She obviously pushes everyone around her to have a better time,” Shreya said.

Although she loves to enjoy the moment, she also often thinks about her future and possibilities.

“Everything happens for a reason, so in my mind, there’s going to be a class or a professor, or an assignment or something that leads me somewhere. That’s my vision … [and] we’ll see [how it ends up],” Anna said.