YARMOUTH — Morghan Najour looked at the clock and said she had to run to the store to pick up groceries before attending her last class at Yarmouth High School. It wasn’t rude or dismissive, it was as if she was reminding herself of what she had to do in the next two hours.
Like other teenagers, Najour plays sports – soccer, softball and volleyball. She is a member of the Siddhartha Club, Playmakers Drama Club, Interact, Green Voices and the National Honors Society.
But, unlike other teens, Najour has three jobs and helps to run her household.
“It’s true I play the mom sometimes,” she said. “But now I am trying to play the graduating high school student.”
Najour, 17, is a Yarmouth High School senior who moved to Yarmouth from Italy her sophomore year. As the daughter of military parents, Najour has traveled all over the United States and has moved about 13 times. The oldest of five siblings, and lives with her 3-year-old brother and two sisters, ages 8 and 15. Her stepfather and mother are both in the Navy, and her mother left on Sunday for 10 months of duty in Kuwait.
“We are fortunate she is where she is,” Najour said. “It is safe, and she is a strong woman. I have a lot of faith she will be OK.”
Although her mother will not see her graduate this Sunday, Najour said other family members will support her.
Najour said she has juggled a lot of responsibilities since she was 13, and has been both a teen and a mother figure. She said her mother used to be a waitress at night, so at an early age Najour helped care for her younger siblings.
“We all do our part,” she said. “And I do try to find time to myself to relax and be a teen.”
Najour said she will attend the University of Florida in the fall, and will pursue a career in medicine. She said receiving a Reserve Officers’ Training Corp. scholarship will help with the cost of college, and she will spend four years as a Navy officer after she graduates. After that, she hopes to attend medical school.
“I will worry about my family when I am gone,” she said. “I am so involved that to not be around them will be difficult. I’ll just have to learn to adjust.”
According to history teacher Caitlin Ruthman, learning comes naturally to Najour.
“She loves class, discussions and debates,” Ruthman said. “She is a focused and dedicated student, and mature beyond her years.”
Ruthman said even with Najour’s activities and responsibilities, she uses it to drive her uncharacteristic work ethic, not as an excuse to get out of work.
Principal Ted Hall said Najour is one of the most pleasant and upbeat students in the school, even with her unbelievable work load.
“Morghan is engaging and friendly and has a great sense of family,” he said. “In talking to her, you would never know she is so involved.”
Beth Doane, Najour’s guidance counselor, said she is a charismatic and involved student who gives to others selflessly – her teammates, classmates, family and even strangers.
“Morghan will not hesitate to volunteer her time beyond the scope of school projects,” Doane said. “She participated in a walk for breast cancer and raised a significant amount of money. She is already making a difference in the world.”
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.