In July 2017 Raha Moharrak of Saudi Arabia joined a small, elite group of people who had climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Her feat is even more notable because it was something so unusual for a young Saudi Arabian woman to attempt.
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For teachers: We encourage reproduction and adaptation of these ideas, freely and without further permission from AramcoWorld, by teachers at any level.
Common Core Standards met in this lesson: RI9-10.2, W9-10.1  (see details below).

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—Julie Weiss


The Seventh Summit: Making a Dream Come True

In July 2017 Raha Moharrak of Saudi Arabia joined a small, elite group of people who had climbed the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. As "The Seventh Summit" describes, her achievement, while excellent in its own right, is even more notable because it was something so unusual for a young Saudi Arabian woman to attempt. Her story, which she shares with middle-school students, provides an example of motivation, courage and hard work. In the activities that follow, you will explore Raha's life and your own. By the time you finish, you will be able to:

•Describe Raha's motivation and what motivates you.
•Identify the tools Raha used to succeed at her goal.
•Evaluate how Raha's tools might work for you.

What is Motivation? What Motivates Different People, Including You?

Somewhere along the way, some parent or teacher has probably said to you, "You've got to get motivated" and do ... whatever it is you haven't particularly felt moved to do. What exactly did they mean? Working with a small group, look up the word motivation to get a dictionary definition. With your group, pretend you're a thesaurus and make a list of synonyms—words that mean the same, or nearly the same, thing as motivation.

With your list in mind, read "The Seventh Summit." Find the place in the article where Raha Moharrak explains what motivated her to make her first climb. Discuss with the members of your group why you think "no" motivated her. Can you understand her feelings? When someone tells you "no," you can't do something," does it motivate you to try harder to do it? Or does "no" affect you differently? With your group, have at least one person speak from Raha's point of view and explain how "no" motivates her. Have at least one person take a different point of view and explain how "now" has the opposite effect—leading them to give up.

Return to the article. After the first climb, Raha's motivation changed. What motivated her to continue climbing very tall mountains? Can you relate? Have you ever started something—analogous to Raha's climbing a specific group of mountains—and then felt compelled to keep going, to finish it, to attain some specific goal? If so, what motivated you to keep going? Did you want to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records? Or maybe get into a specific college? Or be chosen to be part of a selective team? If you've never felt motivated in that way, think about what you have felt motivated to do. What was it that motivated you? And if you can't think of anything you've been motivated to do, think about what would motivate you. After all, as "The Seventh Summit" says, Raha's talk to middle-school girls was really about "one woman's pursuit of her dreams." What dream would you feel moved to reach for?

How Did Raha Go about Attaining Her Goal?

Raha was very diligent about reaching her goal. She identifies what we might call her tools for success:

  • training
  • planning
  • focus
  • support from the people who matter most to her

Find examples of each of these "tools" in Raha's pursuit of the seven summits. Then think about your own dream. Think about how each tool could apply to your dream. Use the list of tools as a way to organize your thoughts, to put together a strategy for attaining your goal. When you're down, write about your goal and how you will go about reaching it. Do so in the form of an email in which you are asking someone to support your efforts—like the email that Raha sent her parents to persuade them that she should climb Kilimanjaro. Like Raha's email, yours should be persuasive, explaining why you care so much about this goal, and how you plan to go about reaching it.


Common Core Standards met in this lesson: 

RI9-10.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.

W9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.