The Cadreâ€™s very own Fairouz Gaballa is the first known student-athlete to wear a hijab at UPEI.
Fairouz Gaballa is a second-year Bachelor of Arts student at UPEI and is a part of the Cross Country team.
Running became a part of Fairouzâ€™s life when she was in high school, it was a decision she made after a talk with her teacher Mike Peterson who was the Colonel Grey Cross Country coach and later became the UPEI Cross Country coach.
Last year Fairouz practiced with the team and then became an official member of the team this past September.
According to Ron Annear, Varsity Sport Coordinator, there are no definitive records, however, Annear believes that Fairouz is the first student-athlete at UPEI that wears a hijab.
Annear reached out to AUS colleagues and found that there were no other current student-athletes that wear a hijab, and they do not believe there were any in past years.
Annear and Fairouzâ€™s Cross Country coach, Mike Peterson, agreed that this is an important milestone for UPEI.
â€œIt’s a wonderful milestone, University Sport is a great opportunity and experience for all students to aspire to,â€ commented Annear.
Peterson is proud of the diversity that has been coming to PEI.
â€œI was running with a group of three athletes the other day: one from Jordan, one from the United Arab Emirates and one from Vietnam, and I commented on how happy I was that we have come so far. It gives me tremendous hope that PEI is quickly growing into a multicultural province where people are accepting and welcoming.â€
Fairouz has made an impact on the people around her at UPEI.
â€œI am consistently impressed with Fairouz’s determination and conviction. She is a hard worker who is passionate about the things that are important to her, and she should be proud of herself,â€ Peterson commented.
Annear also had positive feedback about Fairouz.
â€œFairouz’s passion for Cross Country and student life is strong, and her involvement with the Cadre is a great opportunity to tell stories from a student-athletes perspective.â€
Aside from setting new and exciting milestones, Fairouz also impresses and inspires the people around her.