by Alyssa Chen and Quinlan-Nardella, Features Reporters
photo contributed by Udaii Abu Amara
Whether it be a new physics theorem or a fun fact about a classmate, the act of discovery has always captivated sophomore Udaii Abu Amara. Although freshman physics officially sparked his interest in science, his way of questioning the world started far earlier, he said.
“When I was young and we had no one to babysit me, my mom, who’s a biologist, would take me with her to her lab, and there would always be these big tubs of dry ice. I’d sit there and play with dry ice, and it always fascinated me,” he said. “I’d ask questions about it to my mom, and that’s when I realized that science is really, really cool.”
Sophomore Yasmine Burris-Khan, a longtime friend of Abu Amara, said that he brings his passion for physics wherever he goes.
“Freshman year, a lot of the classes were hard, but he still loved physics,” she said. “I had lunch with him right after his physics class, and every single time he was so excited.”
Physics teacher Drurey said that Abu Amara’s curiosity and enthusiasm rubbed off on the people around him in his freshman class last year.
“As the year progressed, he became more and more curious about some of the things that we talked about in class. He would ask deeper questions about the information that I was presenting,” he said.
“He is a very positive influence. He’s optimistic, he’s energetic and his enthusiasm is infectious. He gets along with everybody and makes everybody feel comfortable.”
Sophomore Shayla Bellucci said that Abu Amara’s sociable personality has rubbed off on her.
“Ever since I became friends with him, I have stepped out of my shell a little more because he’s a very outgoing guy,” she said. “If I have Udaii next to me, then I can do it.”
Meeting new people and leaving his comfort zone is important, Abu Amara said.
“Especially if it’s someone who is new to the school or recently moved here, letting them know that they have someone there with them is very important because I want them to have a good high school experience,” he said. “Meeting new people, in general, is always fun because you don’t know anything about them.”
Although there’s a 10-year age difference between Abu Amara and his older sister Hanin Abu Amara, she said that they have always had a close relationship, and she admires his confidence.
“All my friends love him. He’s always had a mature brain, but he’s letting his more creative side shine through every single day,” she said. “I’m sure you notice [that he has] no problem speaking his mind and telling you his opinion, and it’s great to see him grow into his own voice in that way.”
Sophomore Max Kret said that the attention Abu Amara pays to his friends’ lives is endearing.
“If you get too close to him, he’ll start walking into your house like he lives there, and he’ll talk to your parents like they’re his parents. It’s very sweet, and I actually love it a lot,” they said. “He also keeps track of stories in our lives. If something happens one day, he’ll follow up on it the next day. I don’t even remember what happened yesterday myself, so how [can he] know?”
Burris-Khan has known Abu Amara for over 10 years, and she said she has always seen him as a supportive friend and shoulder to lean on.
“He is my best friend and has been for a good decade now,” she said. “You can always confide in him. No matter what, if you’re in a bad mood or something, you always have him.”