Pilar Muhammad, Class of 2007, will be speaking at Parkside’s graduation this year. Pilar recently took some time to respond to our Alumni Spotlight questionnaire, and we are delighted to share some of her responses.
Q: What do you remember most vividly about your time at The Parkside School?
A: My time at Parkside was amazing. I wish I remembered more of it! Parkside is where I met two of my best friends during my childhood years. I loved doing art with Ms. Brunner, yoga with Mr. Hanaver, and seeing Ms. Sosland. Parkside gave me the freedom to be myself. From the teachers to the students, the school is a welcoming and loving environment.
I also loved Mrs. Ytting, Ms. Ament, and Mrs. Lia. Of course, there are more teachers to name, but these in particular stood out. They made me feel heard and accepted.
Q: How did Parkside help prepare you for middle school?
A: Parkside taught me that being who you are is not something that you need to hide or be ashamed of. From 3rd grade to 8th grade, I was always with kids older than me because I was able to keep up with their class academically. I spent the longest times feeling self-conscious about this, but Parkside taught me that being smart is nothing to feel bad about.
I think one of the most important things I learned was that as long as you stay true to yourself, your friends, family, and teachers will always support you and love you, regardless of your grades or the mistakes that you have made.
The teachers and staff at Parkside were always there cheering you on. I’ve been out of Parkside a long time now, but I know I can still count on my teachers and feel their support. They always wanted what was best for me, and to help me soar.
Q: Will you tell us about your journey after Parkside?
A: After Parkside I went to the Stephen Gaynor School. From there, I went to the Churchill School and Center, and then after transferring colleges, I ended up at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. Each school I attended was unique and I loved them all.
Graduating from high school was obviously a big deal, but I would have to say my greatest accomplishment has been being at Quinnipiac and serving in internships. I am a Criminal Justice major, and just finished an internship at the Connecticut State Judicial Branch working on adult probation. I am also involved in Alpha Delta Pi sorority.
My passion for criminal justice and politics is evident all over my Facebook page! But I also love theater and acting, performing, seeing musicals and movies, and watching TV. I love it all!
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: It is funny. As a kid, I knew exactly what I was going to do. But, now that I am getting closer to college graduation...I have no idea! In the future, I do want to be a mom, more than anything. Since I was 10, that’s what I’ve wanted. I also hope to still be doing theater in some capacity. I am not sure what I want to do in the criminal justice field, but I am excited to figure that out.
Q: What kind of advice do you have for Parkside’s current graduating class?
A: I don’t want to give away my whole speech for their graduation, but I would say don’t let your disability hold you back. People won’t always understand what you’re going through, but they don’t have too. Do your best, try your best, and if you fall, get back up. Falling and making mistakes are part of what will make you great. They are part of your journey. And no matter where you go or what you do, the Parkside community will always be rooting for you.
Parkside is a unique school. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for this school. If my child needed a school like Parkside, I would send them here in a heartbeat.