Rouaa Alwaz, a Biotechnology career major from Watertown, was the Class of 2020 Valedictorian of Minuteman. Rouaa was a Student Ambassador, Peer Leader, and on the Soccer Team and Community Service Club. She arrived in the United States from Syria when she was in fifth grade. Rouaa attends the University of Massachusetts Boston to study biotechnology.
Q: Why did you choose Minuteman?
I’m a bit of a nerd. I had a lot of interest in a lot of subjects. Minuteman gave me the opportunity to experiment with different technical careers. I chose biotechnology because I like science more than anything else. Science is my thing.
Q: Can you describe some of your favorite moments at Minuteman?
I loved doing competitions with Skills USA and Future Farmers of America because I got to do my own project from start to finish – from the experiment, to the research, to the write-up. It gave me confidence and piqued my interest in science even more. One of my big projects was about genetically modified foods and the ability to test them… to figure out if they were genetically modified or not. Another big project was about cellulosic biofuel, which is the ability to take grass or a natural resource and break it down into fuel, which is good for climate change.
Q: What do you remember most about the clubs and teams you were involved with?
The soccer team was the most fun. Everyone was like a family. I was also on Peer Leaders and I liked that I could be a mentor to other students. I found that it benefitted me as well as the incoming freshmen to answer all their questions. I also did the Community Service Club, and I thought that should be an essential part of every student’s high school career. It’s a good feeling to help somebody. We did the Walk for Hunger every year, and I actually finished the 20 miles! We also did blood drives and raised money for non-profit organizations.
Q: Congratulations on becoming valedictorian. How did you achieve this honor?
It took a lot of work, a lot of long nights. I didn’t think this would happen because English is my second language, so it was a little harder for me. It’s amazing what you can do when you have the determination to get through something. My biggest drive came from the sacrifices my parents made. I felt an obligation to show them those weren’t for nothing. My parents really value education. It’s a very important part of our life.
Q: What’s your message for a student considering Minuteman?
Do what makes you happy. Minuteman is a good option if you’re trying to figure out what you want to do in life. That experience in a career area will help improve your life because it builds character and you become more knowledgeable about a lot of different things.