By Judith Reyes and Jillian Sasaki, Viking Voice Editors in Chief
Kingsburg class of 2010 graduate Dr. Neikka Fareid is a deserving recipient of the Viking Valor prestige.
Dr. Fareid was raised in Kingsburg, where her father has tirelessly worked as a dentist for more than 37 years. His compassion provided a nurturing environment where she could see the world as more than just a place to live in, but instead as a place where she could give.
During her time at Kingsburg High School, she was involved in everything imaginable. Just in her senior year, for instance, Dr. Fareid was president of Ribbons of Hope, Pre-Med, Science Club and MESA, and Math Club. She also served as the treasurer of ASB, while earning her Academic Block K and being part of the golf team.
Her peers voted her as “Most Likely to Succeed” for her graduating class. With her attention to detail and perseverance, she graduated from KHS with not only the highly-venerated title of valedictorian, but as well as ranking 1st in her class.
Her work ethic was observed by her peers and teachers, and she was nominated for numerous awards because of it. With her merit, she was both selected and sponsored to attend various leadership programs such as California State Girls and Camp Royal. “Every year in high school, I received generous nominations from KHS teachers and staff and was recognized by the Rotary Club as a Top 40 Student,” she recollects.
Not only did she attend such events, she was able to gain so much from them. “These programs helped me develop leadership skills I use through my education and continue to use in my professional career,” Dr. Fareid explains.
In an interesting turn of fate, Dr. Fareid is now a member of the Rotary Club herself. This is just one of the many ways that she is able to give back to others today.
Throughout her childhood, she always yearned to become a dentist like her father. In order to make this happen, she made her way to UCLA where in 2013 she obtained a Bachelors degree in Psychobiology. She then attended the UCLA School of Dentistry to complete her doctorate in dental surgery in 2017.
Since then, Dr. Fareid has been working as a dentist alongside her father in the family-run Kingsburg Smile Center.
As a child aspiring to work in the dentistry field, she always knew that one day she would end up in this occupation; however, it was only with time that she was able to realize how much more there was to her profession. After having practiced in the field for a few years, she was able to understand that dentistry is far more than a career.
Dr. Fareid elaborates, “Dentistry is borderless in its setting of practice, boundless to whom it can serve, and limitless in its future prospects. To me, dentistry is a way of life for those who merely practice it, but provides a way to enrich the lives of others for those who truly embrace its essence as an avenue for service.”
Dedicated to her trade, Dr. Fareid contributes to the community as so much more than just a dentist.
She and her father have provided scholarships to KHS students in order to further their education. She states, “My dad approached me with the idea of gifting a number of laptop computers to the graduating class at Kingsburg High. As the students look forward to heading off to university, we look forward to doing what we can to play a small part in that journey.”
Dr. Fareid has summed up a great part of her journey in a metaphor-- a game of Pac-Man. Throughout the “maze of life,'' as she calls it, each circumstance has built her into the woman she is today. She recalls a day in 5th grade when her teacher, Mrs. Clifton, gave her the chance to study from a 6th grade math book. This seemingly small event was a sign to Dr. Fareid that she had a great potential, and for long after that day, she continued to work a grade level above her peers.
This in turn allowed Dr. Fareid to realize her capabilities, and her true talents. She compared this to the confidence-boosting dots eaten by Pac-Man by explaining, “At 9 years old Mrs. Kelly Clifton taught me that I could achieve a capacity beyond where my limited imagination could take me.”
Today, Mrs. Clifton and Dr. Fareid continue to see each other, but now as a patient and dentist.
Dr. Fareid’s path through life has been marked by a variety of achievements, but she still makes time for others. Time and time again, she has demonstrated great compassion and will. Her actions within the community make her our Viking Valor recipient of the month!