Student Spotlight: Amani Dinar

INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER
Amani Dinar was recently honored for her essay on patriotism. June 14, 2016.INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER Amani Dinar was recently honored for her essay on patriotism. June 14, 2016.

By INDIANA NASH
Gazette Reporter
NISKAYUNA — She may only be in fifth grade, but Amani Dinar already has most of her life planned out.
“I want to be either a neurologist or a cardiologist … and maybe when I retire I’ll become a writer or an editor,” said Dinar.
Her definition of retirement doesn’t seem to involve her taking a break from work.
Dinar was recently honored by the Clifton Park Elks for her essay on “What can I do to promote Americanism and love of country?”
When her teacher, Chris Cipriano, first told the class about the contest in January, Dinar immediately began writing.
“I like to write a lot so the most challenging part was that I wrote about 500 words but the essay could only be 200 to 300,” said Dinar.
The premise of her essay was that citizens of the United States should honor veterans and wear patriotic colors to show solidarity.
Her sense of what it means to be an American citizen may be a more developed than other 11-year-olds. Dinar’s family is from Algeria and they travel to foreign countries frequently.
“I’ve been to Algeria, Turkey, France, Canada and Finland,” said Dinar. While in each of these locales, Dinar said that she loves discovering the language and food of each country.
Dinar’s family speaks Arabic, French and English. She is working on her Arabic now.
When she spoke of her experiences in Turkey, Dinar recalls animals all over the streets.
“There are animals everywhere, but people tend to feed them and throw them scraps,” said Dinar.
While traveling, Dinar said that seeing poverty in other countries has given her a different perspective of what it means to be an American. When asked if she would ever live in another country she laughed and said, “Maybe for a little while to see what it is like, but that’s it.”
Her parents, Kahina and Abdelhakim, moved here from Algeria seeking greater career opportunity before she was born.
Today, her father is a neurologist and although Dinar loves writing, she said that she is fascinated by learning about the human body.
“He tells me about his work and I just really like it,” said Dinar. She has already began to imagine all of the ways she can incorporate writing into her work as a neurologist: “When my patients tell me what’s wrong with them or when I run tests, I’ll be writing things down.”
While Dinar is confident about her ability to write well, she said she was surprised to be honored for this competition.
“The contest was for students in fifth to eighth grade so I thought that only seventh- and eighth-grade students were going to win,” said Dinar.
On the weekend of June 11, Dinar was honored by the Clifton Park Elks during a ceremony.
“It was actually really formal and it made me a little nervous but it was fun,” said Dinar.
When asked for her summer plans, Dinar said that she’s not sure what the break from school has in store for her, but if there is another local writing competition, she wants to enter.