By Ashir Rao
From running to speaking to philosophical literature, junior Deniz Kurdi is a man of many interests. Give him a question, and you’ll be sure to get an amusing answer. When asked about himself, Kurdi answered with a quote by English writer and philosopher Alan Watts: “Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.” Certainly well-read, Kurdi’s interests and hobbies tend towards the arts, such as literature, opera, and painting.
At LGHS, Kurdi is on the track and field team and participates in the pole vaulting event. He explained that he joined because he “liked running in freshman year during COVID” and because of friends. A man open to and interested in diverse activities, Kurdi participates in the pole vault, simply because it “seemed fun” when he saw other pole vaulters.
Alongside his athletic pursuits, Kurdi is also on the Speech and Debate team, and competes in the debate and congress events. At club meetings, they practice debating “several pressing issues,” such as the SAT or desalination plants. Within debate, Kurdi focuses on the Lincoln-Douglas debate format. Lincoln-Douglas is one of the standard forms of debate, with each speaker getting 13 minutes of speaking time and 3 minutes of question time. While there aren’t any debate events left in the year, Kurdi fondly recalled some of his tournaments this year: “We debated global politics, such as whether China should prioritize economic growth or environmental protection.” Kurdi keeps up to date with news and world affairs, and he likes to use his vast general knowledge while debating. He enjoys finding solutions to problems and coming up with creative responses to opposing arguments. Kurdi will be on the debate team next year as well.
Kurdi also finds solace in literature. His favorite authors are John Steinbeck, for his immortal works of literature such as The Grapes of Wrath; Hunter S. Thompson, an investigative journalist; and Yukio Mishima, considered one of the most influential Japanese-language writers of the 20th century. His favorite quote from Mishima is “No x who pans for gold can expect to dig up any gold or even attempt to. He must blindly scoop the sand from a river bottom. He doesn’t have the privilege of finding out in advance whether he will succeed.” Kurdi says that he tries to apply the quote to his life, saying: “I tend to think of myself as being more open to experiences which is exactly like the quote … I think that the quote is a very good quote for … life in general.”
Whether he’s buried in a book or debating the future of the world, when you meet him, he will make an impression on you. He is anything but forgettable.