Herricks senior honored for leadership and advocacy

The Island Now

April 05, 2021

Originally published in The Island Now on April 05, 2021.

Herricks High School senior, Roshni Varkey was selected by the Office of State Senator Anna Kaplan to be honored for how she has enhanced and promoted the positive image of African Americans in the schools and community.

Each year, Senator Kaplan hosts a Black History Month celebration that highlights contributions of African Americans in the community. The event includes recognition of deserving high school seniors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in doing so.

Roshni was nominated by Racial Literacy teacher Pascale Gabriel. Through her involvement in this course, Roshni learned about racial discrimination, housing inequity and racial divides, and explored ways to mitigate these problems and implement change.

She and two other members of the class co-founded the Black Student Union, which was introduced this school year and features meetings that consist of presentations and group discussions. Roshni serves as treasurer and was involved in the group’s Black History Month initiatives.

“I’ve always navigated toward fighting injustice from a young age,” Roshni said. “We felt it was time to start the club and that it would be good for the community.”

Roshni has also helped advocate for greater diversity in the curriculum. Last summer, she met with members of the English Department and suggested more books by authors of color. She also encouraged the Social Studies Department to include more Black history topics.

“Roshni is an insightful young woman who cares deeply about issues surrounding racial justice and equity,” Ms. Gabriel said. “I was pleased to nominate her and am very proud.”