Why He’s Interesting: Abbas might be doodling in the back of class, but after school he’s an aspiring actor and graphic novel enthusiast who was chosen as one of 45 Scholastic Kids Press Reporters in September. Chronicling news for kids by kids, the position allows Abbas to stretch his journalistic skills by covering a wide range of subjects. His first story, about Cleveland’s presidential debate, was published in October.
Stage Hands: Abbas is a natural storyteller and credits his admiration for Rory O’Malley, Broadway star and former Beck Center for the Arts performer, for his love of theater. Previously, Abbas performed as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! and most recently took up a role in A Christmas Peril, a parody of Charles Dickens’ classic in which Abbas played the part of a talent agent. “I guess I would be classified as an introvert, but when I’m doing theater, I just kind of forget all that.”
Motivational Speaker: Social justice issues like racial equality are on the sixth grader’s radar thanks to social media, which has made news more accessible to kids. It’s that drive to get involved and make real change that inspires Abbas to act. “America’s not going to be a good place unless you change it to be a good place.”
Milk Money: Abbas has a few ideas for national holidays. One involves a day regulated to carving pumpkins. It would take place before his favorite holiday, Halloween, and call for judges to display the best carved jack-o-lanterns at the center of town. For the other, Abbas wants a no-milk holiday. “It would be kind of a science experiment. If you were to take away milk for a week, would the cereal stock market crash?”
Imaginary Beasts: Abbas’ favorite book character, The Unwanteds’ Alex Stowe, dominates his sketch books, along with the occasional whim. A walk in the park can inspire a leaf monster, for example. But if Abbas could bring one of his fantasy animals to life, it would be a Koala Can. “It was a koala bear, but he was in a trash can. He can take any garbage and turn it into nutrients.”
Tablature Talk: Since the lockdown in March, Abbas picked up the ukulele and started taking virtual lessons. “Playing ukulele is way less stressful than playing piano. I kind of want to learn the Pirates of the Caribbean theme.”
Interesting Fact: Abbas estimates he could spend 10 hours talking about his favorite book, Mr. Gedrick and Me by Patrick Carman.