Earlier this year the Windsor Chamber of Commerce began a partnership with Windsor High School’s English Department to produce this Out & About series of profiles of Chamber members. Now, we turn our spotlight to the writer of these recent articles, Aretha Prabawa. A 2019 graduate of Windsor High School, Aretha spent the last month visiting family in Indonesia and later this month, will begin her freshman year at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, where she will pursue a B.S. in chemistry and hopes to play the violin in the University’s orchestra.
A native of Indonesia, Aretha, her parents and an older brother moved to Windsor when she was four so that her father could take a local job. Having grown up in a very traditional Indonesian Muslim household, she says she still has the feeling of being culturally divided—“I’m still getting used to America.” Like so many Windsor residents, however, one of her favorite town memories is going to the Shad Derby, and she looks forward to returning to this unique event in the years to come.
At Windsor High School, Aretha took advantage of the many AP classes offered. “I feel that the teachers in Windsor really care about the students and want them to succeed. I hope I formed really good connections with them, and I’ll always be thankful because they’ve helped me succeed.”
An accomplished musician, Aretha has played the violin for 14 years, most recently in the high school orchestra and regional orchestras. “I am obsessed with music, both playing and listening,” she says. She likes to analyze music to discover patterns and chord progressions and to figure out what makes a song interesting. Aretha continues, “STEM and creativity have so much to do with one another. Innovation comes with creativity—you can’t have one without the other.” She is a believer in arts in education, saying, “the creative parts of the day help students expand their minds and let out emotions.”
Also at Windsor High School, Aretha was a member of the social justice-oriented Action Club. “As an immigrant, as a Muslim and as a woman in this political climate, I consider myself an activist. I want to be part of a change. Activism has to do with communicating—both in fighting for your beliefs and in understanding where other people are coming from, because everyone’s not the same as you.”
Reflecting on her work on the Out & About series—interviewing and photographing Chamber members at their places of work and writing feature articles—Aretha says, “I enjoyed the challenge of writing and meeting new people. The articles required a lot of thinking and planning, and I think they made my academic writing more concise and clear.”
The Windsor Chamber of Commerce was pleased to honor Aretha as our Volunteer of the Year at our recent annual meeting. Beyond that, we have been thrilled to work with Aretha on Out & About this year and we wish this bright, serious and engaging young woman the very best in college and beyond!
By Sarah Gilligan, owner of Cerebration Writing + Design, is President of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.