Leila Narisetti — 10th Grade’s Prodigy
Upon arrival at the Class of 2020’s freshman orientation, students were asked, “what is something unique about yourself?” While many listed their talents and abilities, Leila Narisetti (‘20) simply stated, “I like bacon.” Obviously, this is not her only quality, though it gives insight into her unique personality.
It is no surprise that Leila was recently elected as a grade representative; the action that she takes within Packer’s walls inspires students and teachers alike. She focuses on expanding conversations surrounding diversity and is working towards creating a more comfortable school environment for all students. No events have specifically inspired her to do so, however; for her, “it was just a want for a better student life at Packer, especially for those groups who feel marginalized; your school is supposed to be your home away from home, and if you aren’t comfortable and you feel like your voice isn’t being heard, I want to take action to change that.”
Much of Leila’s drive for using her voice into Packer’s community comes from her history. Though she was born in New York, Leila grew up in Belgium for four years of her life and India for three and a half until the age of eight, when she moved back into the United States. Because her parents were journalists, they careers required a lot of traveling. Living in these countries has added to her maturity and wisdom on how she views the world. She said, “I think that Packer mostly has American values and American ideals so when I look at things, I look at how things affect people internationally and I look at things in the big picture. That’s how living abroad has shaped me.”
She has successfully organized multiple workshops to discuss issues surrounding race, including “Stereotypes and Microaggressions,” “Race and Sexuality,” “Positive Privilege,” “Police Brutality,” “The Use of the N-word,” and “The Fetishization of Cultures and Bodies of Color.” These workshops are also led by other students in the Packer community. Leila explains that she “is just involved in creating them and getting them off the ground. Those who have come to the workshops and want to discuss race — those are the people who help me a lot and keep me encouraged and inspired.”
Although these workshops are important to her, Leila is trying to minimize the amount of workshops in the future, as she is “working to make Packer a place in which we don’t have to create workshops to talk about race, but just that race is discussed through everything,” she said. “I want the Packer student body to be able to naturally discuss how race plays a role in the lives of many people around the world. My goal is to eliminate the middleman of having to force students to talk about it.”
Leila is not only the leader of these newly-established workshops, but also an active member in an abundance of clubs, including Intersections, Brothers and Sisters, Community Meeting Committee, Cambodia Club, and the recently launched Shades Magazine.
Her outspoken voice and leadership role in the Packer community has and will change this school for the better.
“I think that, as a student, it’s very important to voice your opinion and voice your concerns about your school and I think that I’m already doing that — I’m talking to Ms. Bishop and to Ms. Semeka and to students, and now I’m going to start talking to Mr. De Jesus and to Dr. Dennis, to find ways in which the message that I’m trying to convey gets publicized and gets implemented into the Packer curriculum.”
And of course, Leila is also just a student. She loves to cook and bake, she enjoys watching Netflix and playing sports, and even stated: “I like getting injured, of course — I don’t actually like getting injured but that’s one of the things that I’m known for.” Another fun fact: she also likes knowing about the military.
Leila Narisetti is a woman of many talents and has a multitude of abilities, though does not boast of them. She simply acts upon them.