Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Remarkable Seniors; Household Duties, and Bound for Princeton Teen Excels at Darnell-Cookman While Helping Her Struggling Family

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Remarkable Seniors; Household Duties, and Bound for Princeton Teen Excels at Darnell-Cookman While Helping Her Struggling Family

Article excerpt

Byline: Khristopher J. Brooks

Lamiah Anne Haque had no idea what she was doing in that Australian hospital, but the little girl from Bangladesh tried to have fun anyway.

She zoomed down the hospital's corridor, almost past a window that showed patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

Haque backed up and peered through the glass. Inside there was her father, Aynul Haque, with tubes snaked through his nose.

"That was really scary for me seeing my dad like that," she said.

Her father was having double bypass surgery. Lamiah Anne began asking questions, but the doctors laughed her off. After all, she was 6 years old at the time. Still Lamiah Anne was frustrated when the doctors ignored her questions.

"I think from there on I always Googled things in medicine," she said.

Her father's surgery was a success, but that moment sparked Lamiah Anne's quest to become a cardiac surgeon, a quest that is about to enter its next chapter.

Lamiah Anne is a senior at Darnell-Cookman School of the Medical Arts. After taking on most of the household responsibilities this year, the 19-year-old managed to keep up with her school work and get accepted into Princeton University.

Lamiah Anne was born in Bangladesh. Her family moved to Australia in hopes of finding better jobs.

Ten years passed and the Australian job market fizzled. The Haques then moved to the United States in search of work.

Lamiah Anne's parents came to America on a business visa that restricted only the father to work full time. Not long after they arrived, Aynul was in a car accident that injured his knee.

He underwent surgery, but has been out of work ever since.

Aynul's injury is healing, but he still can't find work as a data analyst because employers "are asking for a green card or U.S. citizenship," he said. The business visa won't suffice at the companies where Aynul has applied.

With little income and mounting bills, Lamiah Anne decided at the beginning of the school year to become the head of the household. She held a part-time job at a nearby Indian restaurant, but later left the job to focus on school. In recent months, she's been acting as the family's head chauffeur.

In the morning, she takes her brother and sister Ameenul Gem and Shariah Opal to school. Lamiah then spends half a day at school. She has to leave school at lunch to drive her mother to her part-time job at a nearby McDonald's. Some days, she has to drive her father to the doctor's office for checkups on his knee surgery.

The family's 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan is barely holding up, but somehow Lamiah Anne still drives back to school to finish out the day.

While driving the family around every day, Lamiah Anne found time to apply to dozens of colleges across the country. She said she spent every dollar she ever saved on application fees. Most schools said no. When Princeton said yes, she collapsed on the floor.

"I still can't believe it," she said.

For the past two years, Lamiah Anne's family says she's been the rock of their family, shuttling everyone to school and work while staying on top of her class work. She managed to keep a social life by watching Disney movies and teaching her classmates how to Bollywood dance.

But Lamiah is the first to say there were days when she broke down. …

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