Wondering what it takes to become a well-rounded, professional rugby player dedicated to continuing academic pursuits at a university level? We have personal insights just for you, from our very own student Rhishay S.! In fact, Rhishay is not only adept at making and collaborating on key decisions to solve problems, but he has proven his leadership capabilities through his international student-athlete career. Let’s see what he has to say about finding meaning both in and out of the classroom.
This interview is Part 4 in our Empowering Activities series. To read more, check out the rest of the series right here! We hope that celebrating our stellar Empowerly students will inspire other high schoolers to reach for the stars.
My name is Rhishay S. and I live in Glasgow, Scotland. I am an outgoing school student with a motivated and inquisitive attitude.
Since I was 10 years old I have been attending Hindi school, in which I learned about the Indian/Hindu culture whilst also learning how to read, write and speak the Hindi language. At the end of this experience, I received an official Hindi language certificate. However, the journey continued when I began teaching others at the Hindi Language School, fostering relationships with students and encouraging them every step of the way. By using progressive reinforcement techniques I was able to motivate and support students, allowing everyone to learn and participate. This positive experience has made me further aware of the local student community and how I can help.
During my early school career, I was introduced to the sport of rugby, to which I took a major liking. Eventually, through hard work and perseverance, I was able to reach a level at which I was recruited by the Scottish Rugby Foundation. Whilst visiting family in India I offered to help the coaches, who were brought to India from South Africa to coach the state-level team of Bihar, India. I was able to do so using previous experiences as a player myself in Scotland, and teaching others in Hindi school. For my work with the new coaches, I received a commendation letter from the Head Coach and the Head of Sport in Bihar, India.”
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! We are so excited to learn more about you and your amazing work. So…
Empowerly: Which activity(s) do you participate in that makes you feel most empowered, and why?
Rhishay: The activity that makes me feel most empowered is the sport of rugby. Whilst playing and training with my teammates, I feel a great sense of bonding and connection which is carried through to many other aspects of life. I have noticed an increase in my communication abilities, confidence, and ability to bond with people anywhere I go. These qualities have bettered me as both a leader and a team player.
E: How long have you been doing these activities?
R: I have been playing rugby ever since I was first introduced to it during my initial school years and took a major liking to the game ever since. Initially, my rugby skill level was understandably low; but, through years of persistent training and practice, I was able to reach a respectable level of the game and was recruited by the Scottish Rugby Foundation to train and eventually play for the Glasgow team.
E: How did you first discover your passion(s), and when was that?
R: As a child, I was always a great supporter of sports such as football and cricket, although rugby was never on my list. My initial interactions with the game were slightly demotivating as I saw other children performing to a higher standard than I was. However, this only motivated me to try and improve. As I started witnessing signs of improvement I was thrown into the deep end of the sport and began playing for the older years. It was difficult, as I was surrounded by people who were physically and mentally more astute to the game. Eventually, I was able to play for a team that was my own age again, and the previous challenges I had faced playing with older years had molded me into a greater and more experienced player. The very moment I realized this, I had fallen in love with the game.
E: Have you faced any memorable turning points or obstacles along your journey?
R: Unfortunately, my rugby journey came to a halt when whilst playing a school match I severely injured my hand. I was devastated, and all I could think about was if I was going to be able to play again. Because of this, I refused to let anyone know about my injury. After a week went by and I was still not able to move one of my fingers whatsoever, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. It was then that I received the heartbreaking news that I had to undergo surgery and would not be able to play the game I love for 9-12 months. Every day, my teammates would leave to train and play matches while I was left to watch on the sidelines. Slowly the months passed by and finally I was strong enough to play again. I am now working to play at not the same level, if not higher, than before.
E: What are your plans for the future (in high school, college, or beyond)?
R: I would like to continue my rugby journey, but at the same time focus on my education and getting into a top university in the U.S.A. or the U.K.
E: How has Empowerly helped you move your passions/activities forward?
R: Empowerly has a great system and amazing counselors that have helped me organize and objectivize the things I need to do, which has helped me balance my sport, work, and school life. And on top of this, the Empowerly team has given me countless opportunities to improve my applications and CV through multiple processes—whether it is AI programming courses or designing documents that officialize my commitments in rugby. Empowerly has assisted me in many forms of education and sport which eventually add up to create a very respectable student profile.
We at Empowerly are constantly impressed by the global scope and dedication of the students in our community. If you are curious to learn more about activities that will empower your students, we are here! Reach out to learn more about our program and how we can help. Book a free consultation below to receive a customized recommendation for your college application plan.