EHS student tackles global issues through local work
East High School student Lidya Tadesse is helping others write their futures at the same time as she is writing her own.
Born in Ethiopia, Lidya organized a pencil drive for Ethiopian students before a trip back to her native country last summer. Her efforts netted several thousand pencils.
“Pencils are incredibly expensive in Ethiopia in comparison to how much people make. I want students that do not have the same opportunities as me to be able to write their own futures,” says Lidya.
Helping others is nothing new for the high school senior. Lidya was recently named a Borlaug Scholar from the World Food Prize – Iowa Youth Institute for her work to fight food hunger around the world. It is the second year in a row that Lidya has received the prestigious honor.
“I am passionate about fighting food hunger because it is a very prevalent issue that many people choose to ignore. I might not be able to solve world hunger at the moment, however, I can keep myself informed,” adds Lidya.
A curiosity to learn about other countries peaked Lidya’s interest in the World Food Prize. It is the same curiosity to understand things from others’ perspectives that has driven Lidya’s involvement in activities throughout high school.
Ranked first in her class throughout high school, Lidya is involved in Iowa Youth Congress as a district officer, Mayor’s Youth Commission as an executive member, Environmental Club as co-president, and Girls Go Cyberstart. She also serves as president of East High School’s National Honor Society.
Not surprising, staying organized is one of Lidya’s superpowers.
“It definitely takes a lot of sacrifices to juggle a busy schedule, however, I think organization and planning are very important. I always make sure to make a to-do list the night before, and I plan everything a month in advance,” adds Lidya.
Her dedication to school has certainly paid off. Lidya boasts an impressive resume of achievements: National AP Scholar with Honors, National AP Scholar with Distinction, Wilmington 15 Under 15, and National African American recognition. This year, she was also selected to represent her class as part of East High School’s homecoming court.
After graduation, Lidya has her sights set on obtaining degrees in biology and international relations. Someday, she hopes to return to work in Ethiopia.
Until then, the high-achieving student is doing all she can to document memories along the way.
“If I could share one piece of advice with younger students, I would tell them to keep a journal and to take lots of pictures. Time passes really quickly when you’re young, and you should try to capture all the memories you can.”