drawing by Sana Saeed who prefers not to be photographed
by Khristan Antoine and Kardel Howard
At 15, Sana Saeed is McClymonds’ youngest graduate and the first valedictorian who is non-African-American, Muslim and covers her head.
As co-valedictorian along with Iakiriyya Karimushi, she addressed the class of 2013 and guests about Stars Can’t Shine Without Darkness.
Her smile is infectious, radiating gentle humor mixed with kindness. Yet, often hidden under her friendly exterior and her elegant head covering, stylishly modified with a gem or chic pin, Saeed argues fiercely, boldly tackles controversial issues — whether about immigation or gun violence — and fits into McClymonds High School as seamlessly as any other student.
“Getting it right, getting it done,” is what propelled Saeed to a 3.85 GPA, said Dr. LuPaulette Taylor, who teaches AP English. “She’s up for challenges and never gives up.”
Junior Darlisha McGlothen describes Saeed as always curious and challenging.”Sana always answers a question with another question, usually pushing you to think more deeply” McGlothen said. “In one discussion, I finally asked her, ‘Sana, what do you think?’ and she smiled and answered, ‘What do YOU really think?'”
Like her sisters, Saba and Esma, Saeed devoted much of her energy to academics. She is the first valedictorian in the family and the youngest to graduate, though Saba was 16 and salutatorian. Sana is also the first to be involved in journalism, as a reporter and writer for macksmack.
Saeed researched scarves as her senior project. She was accepted to California State University/East Bay and plans to study nursing.
Earlier this month, Saeed received a $1,500 SuperStar scholarship from Burma SuperStar, which was presented by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan. She was one of two McClymonds seniors (out of five winners) to receive the scholarship.
“This is so exciting,” she said at the time.
Some of Sana’s pieces: