BY Molly Congdon
CLIFTON PARK—Why do we follow certain rules in society? What is morality? How does it exist? Why does it exist?
These are the types of questions that are constantly on the mind of Shenendehowa junior Zurez Memon.
“Debate is what defines me as a person, it helped me find myself and figure out how to objectively think about all the things in society,” Memon said. “I see it as we ought to minimize what is and what ought to be in everything because there are flaws in everything and everyone. If we actively try to fix that, that’s how we are going to reach solvency or reach a better world as a whole.”
His passion for debate was fostered within the arguments over interpretations of literature in English classes. “By then I started to understand that nothing is black and white,” Memon said. “There is always going to be a shade of grey; nothing is definitely right or wrong.”
“Once I joined the speech and debate team, at first I thought it was very rigid,” Memon said. “But over time I got used to it and I really honed in my public speaking skills. Also, an important aspect of it is working the judge paradigm; trying to put on a persona that appeals to these various types of people is a skill that I learned and am still trying to improve to this day. I haven’t mastered anything, I’m still improving as a person in general.”
Compared to other students, he may have one of the most extensive lists of extracurricular activities. He is treasurer of the Student Faculty Administration Senate; President of DECA, which is a business organization within Shenendehowa and is part of FBLA; volunteers his time with CAPTeens— a youth program, where he was elected and appointed to the leadership council and from there also to their board of directors, that allows Memon and other students to find causes that they wish to fulfill in the community and work as a group towards those humanitarian acts; a member of Team 20, Shenendehowa’s Robotics Team, where he worked on the business and chairman sub-team—he helped write the business plan this year and the chairman’s presentation as a whole; a member of Shenendehowa’s Speech and Debate team; a prosecuting attorney on Shenendehowa’s Mock Trial team; plays the viola in the orchestra; and is also involved in the Clifton Park Youth Court.
“Youth Court is very interesting because most of the activities I’m involved in are more idealogical, where like in a debate round if we say that this is going to cause X amount of deaths or this is going to happen,” Memon said. “But [youth court] is more before real-world situation where the actions that I commit within the room are actually affecting a real persona and that in itself resonates with me as well as many other participants.”
He’s had a few trails so far. Last week he served as a prosecutor in a case.
“We are improving people with this rehabilitative philosophy.” “That as a whole will only achieve a better community and town that we live in.”
However, it is being armed with debate skills is a weapon Memon is able to utilize in so many aspects of his life such as his volunteer work, his other extracurriculars, in the classroom and all of his future endeavors.
PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE
Memon has lived in Clifton Park for practically his whole life; that is, since he was two when he and his family moved here from Brooklyn. He is also a first generation American; his parents came from Pakistan.
His father, Dr. Nazir Memon, is the associate medical director of St. Peter’s Health Partners Nursing Home and his mother, Anila Memon, takes care of everything at home. His 14 year old sister, Maliha, attends Holy Names.
NYU is currently number one on his college wish list, where he intends on going pre-med and pre-law simultaneously. “Maybe I’ll go into medical policy making, ideally something that is still involved in the sciences and applying debate in the real world,” Memon said. However, he’s definitely has RPI and some Ivy League schools on his mind as well.
He has been surrounded by magnificent mentors.“There are lots of people who have greatly influenced me but most notably Ms. Ann Conway from the Student Faculty Administration Senate; she actually debated when she was younger and she’s a very passionate, fierce woman—in a society that’s mainly dominate by men, she’s a powerful female figure and she’s really taught me politically how to present yourself,” Memon said. “Also, Mrs. Rose Barra from Team 20; she wants us to be the best we can be. Both women really dedicate a lot of their time improving us as people and developing ourselves as leaders.”
Even though the image he has of his future isn’t crystal clear as of yet, it is certain that he will do great things. “In time I see myself in a leadership position where my ideas can be heard,” Memon said. “Possibly where I myself can actively make a change within the community whether it be with my own skill sets in the realm of medicine or something else that I find a passion for; I have so much time where anything could change.”
Six questions for Zurez Memon:
Q: What is the number one thing on your bucket list?
A: Race some cars on a racetrack someday.
Q: What is your dream car?
A: A Lexus LFA.
Q: If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be and why?
A: A cat, mainly because they are fairly clean.
Q: What is your favorite dessert?
Q: What is one of your biggest fears?
A: Generally being unhappy in life and not actively trying to be the best I can be because, once that starts happening, that usually results in some pretty bad things.
Q: What’s your favorite season and why?
A: I appreciate the springtime because it’s an equilibrium between what is too hot and too cold.