North Olmsted student turns class project into start of career

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 12:55 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 2:24 PM EST
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NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WOIO) - A North Olmsted High School student said compassion and communication is the focus of a senior project that has become so much more.

“I didn’t expect it to go this far, because now I work there,” said student Ida Hajjaj.

Hajjaj, like most high school seniors, has a full schedule with homework and a job.

She works at Concord Reserve in Westlake, helping the senior citizen residents with everyday tasks.

“I got an RA license from them, a resident assistance license. I would help them here and there, but my base section with them was activities,” said Hajjaj.

The North Olmsted High School senior decided it would be the perfect place for her senior Capstone project.

She told 19 News her hypothesis asked if communication can strengthen the mental health of residents in nursing homes after the pandemic.

After spending time with residents and nurses, her class project quickly turned into the start of a career.

“I feel like when you’re so short staffed in a place that revolves around helping others, you forget to sit down and have that talk with them, have that communication with them,” said Hajjaj.

Her teacher, Pete Dubois, explained the capstone project is part of a program for students in eighth through 12th grades that have passion for the medical field.

Dubois said he had no doubt she would do great things.

“We know licensing and certifications in any career field is going to be challenging, much less for a full-time high school student,” said Dubois.

This is a start to a bright future for the student, but she said her goal to be helping hand and listening ear.

“I was happy I was there help, I wanted to be that person to help them,” said Hajjaj.

She said she has not decided on a college yet, but she will be the first in her family to go to college.