The start of this school year came with lots of new changes, but for new student and senior Kareem Hargrove, this school year means more than just adapting to a new way of learning. For Kareem, this year is about new friends, a new environment, and a whole new beginning.
In the midst of a pandemic, Kareem and his family moved down the East Coast, from Connecticut to Richmond. Before coming to Freeman, Kareem and his family lived in Stanton, Conn., a city, he said, “[whose] only interesting fact is that it is home to TikTok star Charli D’Amelio.” Kareem said, “the drive down was a lot longer than expected and it was difficult to decide if [they] should stop places for fear of the virus.”
As a middle child with four sisters, Kareem credits a large portion of his personality to his sisters and family. He said the most influential person in his life was his “Nana, because she was an iconic queen with a free spirit who lived life to the fullest.”
Here in Virginia, his dad, Kareem Hargrove Sr., is the one who takes credit for Kareem’s love of downtown Richmond. Mr. Hargrove, who had already lived in Richmond for a while, shows Kareem around the city every weekend, exploring new restaurants. His latest restaurant find is Jalapenos Mexican Grill in Carytown.
Mr. Hargrove said, “Kareem is not afraid to be himself, he does his own thing and doesn’t follow the crowd.” When asked about a proud moment he remembers about Kareem, he told a story of young Kareem playing an entire football game with a broken arm. “He didn’t tell me until after the game when we got hot dogs,” Mr. Hargrove said. Being a former football player himself, he said, “I was proud of his toughness and inner fortitude, and it was a memorable moment for me as a dad.”
When Kareem is not taking care of his younger sisters, who are 3 and 5 years old, you can find him somewhere cozy reading a good book. Currently, Kareem is reading An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. “As a child growing up, Kareem always enjoyed reading more than anything,” said Mr. Hargrove.
Kareem is also enthusiastic about learning new things and is fascinated by the little aspects in life. Kareem said, “I enjoy talking to people about nonessential topics and having random conversations about life and the world around us.”
Although Kareem’s old school had their own form of virtual learning in the spring, this year is still an adjustment for him. “Having to move schools senior year is just my luck,” Kareem said. Not being able to make connections and new friendships face-to-face presents a whole new challenge. Kareem said, “I wish I was able to experience the senior culture at Freeman.”
That being said, Kareem has accepted the challenge and is facing it head on. “The transition has been very smooth so far,” Kareem said. “The atmosphere at Freeman is very laid-back and helpful.”
Kareem enjoys all his classes and teachers, but said that his favorite is AP Government with social studies teacher Ben Fabian. “Kareem is an outgoing student who is an avid and active participant in our class discussions,” Mr. Fabian said. “I also enjoy Mrs. Keller’s AP Biology class because I have a passion for science, and I hope to become a doctor,” Kareem said.
While Kareem is adapting to Freeman life, he said that “it’s hard to meet people outside of school.” Kareem overcomes this obstacle by joining clubs and getting involved with the social life at Freeman. As of now, he is active in Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), Black Student Union, Prism, and Red Cross Club.
“While moving schools this year was difficult, I am excited to learn more about Freeman and I look forward to meeting my teachers and classmates in person,” said Kareem.