Student of the Week: Simon Abraha


Alec Willard-Herr

“I want the Portland community to be the best community it can,” junior Simon Abraha said. “I’m only one person… but, you know, progress is progress, whether it’s big steps or baby steps.”

Olivia Galbraith, Editor

In the halls of La Salle, you may recognize junior Simon Abraha as the junior officer on Executive Council or public relations officer for the Black Student Union. 

Outside of the brick walls, you might see him exploring downtown or chasing a sunset with his camera, or even taking computer science classes on the weekends.

Abraha describes himself as “a people person.” He said that he is active in his community in a variety of ways, whether it be through social connections or service, such as volunteering at the Blanchet House. 

“I love my community, I love the people in my community,” he said. “So if I can just, you know, make that place a better place, I feel like I’m doing my job.”

Part of the reason Abraha got involved with Student Council was because of this passion for community. He said that freshman year was a “weird year” for him because he didn’t immediately “find [his] crowd.” 

Getting involved with Student Council and being elected as junior officer was partially motivated by wanting to “help those freshmen, or maybe even sophomores… feel welcomed,” he said. 

“We want you guys to just leave La Salle and say, ‘Hey, this was a fun time, I appreciated it,’” Abraha said. As a part of the Executive Council, he wants to make sure that people are comfortable and having fun.

This is Abraha’s first year involved with Student Council, and seeing the ambition and drive of the other members has been an “eye-opener,” he said. The students “genuinely want a good place… I just haven’t seen drive like that in a very, very, very long time.”

Abraha doesn’t only practice leadership as a class officer — he is also the public relations officer for the Black Student Union. This month, for Black History Month, the club has planned various activities, and is “trying to show people Black excellence,” he said. 

Abraha got involved with the BSU because it was “kind of like an escape,” he said. “When you’re the only Black kid in a class of maybe 20 kids, it’s kind of hard to speak your mind, in a way. I feel like you’re going to be criticized or… something along those lines.”

“I feel like when you’re in BSU you can express yourself the way you want to,” Abraha said. He said that members of the club have fun with each other, sharing their different stories and ideas, while “trying to improve everything, always striving for good things.”

As for his classes, Abraha said his favorite is French II with Mr. Cameron Fitzsimmons. He likes how it is different from the typical core class, and how “it’s just like a whole new culture and world to me, so it’s really fun,” he said. 

Abraha said that digital learning has been manageable for him, because “if you have friends that have the same ambitions as you, and you are just knocking out your classes and courses, it’s not going to be that bad,” he said. 

He is choosing to stay home instead of participating in the hybrid schedule, as he feels it is the best way to ensure his own and other people’s safety. “You have to trust all these kids that they’re going to stay at home,” he said. “Is everybody really going to do that? I don’t know.”

Outside of La Salle, Abraha enjoys going to the gym and playing basketball, which he has been playing for “my whole life,” he said. He used to play on a team with the Amateur Athletic Union, but isn’t this year.

Abraha said that he got into basketball partially because of his family, as “we all just sit down and watch [games] as a family type thing,” he said. 

Abraha also spends his free time taking photos and having his brother help with photo editing. His favorite thing to capture is “nonspecific” sights, such as inanimate objects and buildings. “That consumes a lot of my time,” he said. “[It] kind of makes my day, I guess… I wake up early in the morning when the sun [rises, and] just take nice photos… wherever it may be.”

While photography is something that Abraha does for himself for fun, he said he is considering starting an Instagram page to showcase some of his work. 

In the future, Abraha is interested in going to college “not too close, [and] not too far” from home, and plans to study computer science. 

He is currently taking computer science classes through ChickTech on the weekends, and has been working on developing an app. He got involved with computer science around a year and a half ago, and said that it can be “addicting” in the sense that there is always something to tweak and work on.

It’s a long process, and it can be “a headache,” he said. “It’s a good headache… I’m still learning here and there.”

As for a career path, “technology’s the future, I realize that,” Abraha said. “If I can get a job in technology, and then I can just do things, like have an app or a social media platform, and just go somewhere from there, I mean, that’d be cool.”

He said his future goals involve “just trying to be the best me I can.” Rather than focusing intently on grades or various expectations, he said he wants to “do what I can do.”

“People think school’s the only way to be successful, it’s the only way to accomplish your dreams,” he said. “I feel like that’s a really good way of doing things, but do… what makes you happy.”

For Abraha, doing the things he enjoys is important, as he said that having regrets is one of his biggest fears. “I want to try all these things, and if it doesn’t go how I planned, cool,” Abraha said. “But let’s say I’d never done it — that’ll just weigh on my head.”

Abraha noted that having a group of people that have similar goals to you can make it easier to accomplish goals. “If you hang around ambitious people, you’re going to have ambition,” he said.