It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. This is definitely the case with the Hasan family of Spring Hill; a family whose four children graduated valedictorian from Spring Hill’s Wider Horizons School. Each child graduated from high school having completed their Associates Degree as well.
Their parents are Dr. Syed Hasan, an Internal Medicine Specialist based in Spring Hill and Tazyeen Hasan, an investment professional. Three of the children have followed in their father’s footsteps to go into the medical field, while the youngest is poised to go into the technology field. All benefited from the dual influence of school and family, with both setting them on the course to a fruitful, successful life.
Tazyeen Hasan said that she and her husband instilled a strong work ethic in their children; one that they quickly learned and incorporated into the fabric of their daily lives. “Growing up, they always came home and spent several hours on their homework,” said Tazyeen Hasan. “They always were aware of what they were supposed to do. But they also played hard, went outside, and were athletic. And for about half an hour a day, they watched a little TV.”
These values, says Tazyeen Hasan, were supported and reinforced by the students’ tutelage at Wider Horizons School. “Wider Horizons had a positive effect on our children,” she said. “They work with each child. Aside from classes, they teach the kids to clean up, take out the trash. They make each child a citizen.”
The eldest of the Hasan children, Aarish Hasan, 27, is now an orthopedic surgeon based in Ocala. He followed his time at Wider Horizons with an intensive course of study at University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine. “At Wider Horizons, they pay attention to each student, teaching life skills,” he said. “They taught me when you face a challenge, take a risk.”
His parents, meanwhile, always reinforced the value of intensive study in the pursuit of one’s goals. “They stressed the importance of hard work and good grades,” said Aarish Hasan. Both his teachers and his parents lent Aarish the support he needed to achieve those goals. “They encouraged me to follow my dreams, to do whatever I wanted to achieve,” he said.
Eesha Hasan, 24, is an infection prevention specialist at Oak Hill Hospital. Upon her graduation from Wider Horizons, she went on to earn her master’s degree from USF. “This school cultivates students, their strengths and weaknesses, and time management skills,” she said, “They help you to develop skills to do what you love.” These lessons, says Eesha, were reinforced in her home life. “Our parents focused on school and education. The school they sent us to was a good one,” she said.
Faris Hasan, 20, currently enrolled in his second year at USF and studying biomedical sciences, said that growing up, “I shadowed my dad, He’s my inspiration. He puts in a lot of work, time, and service to others.” Faris drew upon this inspiration to form the basis of his scholarship at Wider Horizons. “At Wider Horizons, the high school is preparatory for college, they teach you to develop a work ethic, to never give up. The school helps students develop by studying subjects of interest to them, identifying interests so we can flourish by ourselves,” he said. Faris, for his part, wants to be a neurologist.
Haaris Hasan, 17, is a Freshman at the University of Florida studying computer science. He is an honor student who aims to become a software engineer. Haaris says that his parents had a “huge impact on my character, giving me a good foundation. My parents and siblings are my role models.” It was at Wider Horizons that Haaris discovered his love for technology, via a basic computer class. Later, as a part of a science fair, he created his own computer.
Dr. Syed Hasan expresses great pride in his children’s success and in the school that helped make it possible. “This is a small, special school,” he said, “one that teaches values.”
While Hasan sees family influence as a vital component of student success, he also believes that the pupil’s school plays a major role in their growth and development. “Children spend more time in school, than at home, so the school influence is important. Aside from home life, education is the most important part of life,” he said. Hasan appreciates the role that Wider Horizons has played in the prosperity of his children. “And when I look at them, years later, they’re successful. I’m happy,” he said.
Also happy is Wider Horizons high school teacher Mrs. Parks, who taught all four Hasan children during their time at the school. “I’ve known the Hasan kids since they were babies, and they’ve always been respectful and kind to others. There was never a discipline problem. They even helped to tutor other students,” she said. Parks agrees that it takes both a family and a school to raise a child. “One fills in the gaps for the other and together, we lay the groundwork for their future,” she said.