The Shaheen Dynasty


GlenOak High School has seen its fair share of celebrities pass through its halls, with singer-songwriter Marilyn Manson and basketball players CJ McCollum and Kosta Koufos being some of the most note-worthy. Having said that, these stars pale in comparison to the most influential group of people to go to GlenOak: the Shaheens. 

Comprising half of the population of Canton, Ohio, the Shaheens have been called the “Kennedys of Canton” and the “Canton Illuminati”, or, as they will be called when I, Roman Shaheen, take the helm, “the Holy Roman Empire,” having a hand in nearly every aspect of Canton.

“I think there are so many Shaheens, many of them own restaurants, and places like Shaheen Carpets, a lot of popular places that are well known and have been around for a while,” junior Ella Shaheen said. “I think the older generation has many connections with people.”

The Shaheens have been in the Plain Local School system for decades, dating back to when GlenOak High School was still Oakwood and Glenwood. The Shaheens have had a profound impact on GlenOak.

Nuclear Physicist and Glenwood graduate of 1974, Paul Shaheen was a member of the Marching, Concert and Jazz Bands, as well as the Acapella Choir and the Plain Folk, which was the Glenwood version of the Drifters. Paul was also a thespian. 

Paul went to GlenOak during a time when the Shaheen name was not venerated throughout the hall of the school.

“People were aware of us, and they knew we were Syrian, because you can’t live in Canton and not know who Shaheens are,” Paul said. “We went pretty much unnoticed, we didn’t have a big voice in student government, we weren’t the popular kids.”

Executive Television Producer and Oakwood graduate of 1975, Fred Shaheen was incredibly involved in Choir and Band, and he was also the Student Council President during the Glenwood-Oakwood merger, causing him to play a role in that momentous event. 

Fred’s sister Lucy attended GlenOak during its inaugural year, while his other sister Jamie, graduated in 1971 and his brother Louis was in the Plain Local School system during Oakwood’s last year, and GlenOak’s first year. Louis is now an Internal Medicine Specialist in Canton, Ohio. They too were also very involved in the Choral program.

Lawyer and GlenOak graduate of the class of 2004 Alysse Shaheen was an avid member of the Choir program at GlenOak.

“Being a Shaheen at GlenOak is a good thing,” Alysse said.

Sports Medicine Teacher at GlenOak, and graduate of the class of 2007, Alexander Shaheen was a member of the first graduating class of the new GlenOak building. Alexander was the Vice President of the Student Council all four years of his high school career. 

He would later return to GlenOak in order to teach Sports Medicine. A Shaheen of multiple generations, he has seen the school change but the Shaheens remain consistent.

“The halls have changed, but the Shaheen faces populating those halls have not,” sports medicine Alexander said. “I can tell you, we still bring our leftover meat pies and kibbeh for lunch, and we get to work.”

Speaking of teachers, they are one of the groups most affected by the Dynasty at GlenOak, taking on the task of educating the children of Canton’s most powerful family.

“All of the Shaheens have their own very unique personalities,” French teacher Julie Filliez said. “I have always enjoyed the Shaheen Dynasty. My experience has always been that the family is very supportive of education, and the students are expected to be high achievers and do their work. I feel like education is valued in the Shaheen family.”

Carrying the strength and wisdom of one-thousand generations before us, a new generation of Shaheens now walk the hallways of GlenOak. This new generation is made up of the juniors Ella Shaheen and Gracie Wires (whose mother was a Shaheen), and the roguishly handsome and incredibly charming sophomore, Roman Shaheen.

With all of this in mind, it is clear to see that the Dynasty has left an indelible mark on Plain Local, and it is clear to see that the district must be indebted to the Shaheen Empire.

“Our family has made a huge impact, especially with everybody marrying, we’ve got teachers in the building, and my uncle on the School Board,” junior Gracie Wires said. “I think the Shaheens have a huge impact on GlenOak.”

The name Shaheen grants its bearer a certain level of stardom within GlenOak, and in Canton. But as is with all forms of stardom, it can be a blessing and a curse.

“There’s always two sides to a coin, it can be a reputation to uphold, a cross to bear, so to speak, but at the same time, there are perks to it,” Alexander says. “With any celebrity, there’s a good side and a bad side of fame, certain people know your cousin, so they will give a discount, and some people who know your cousin might not want to do business with you.”

As stated, there is a bad side of fame, and the real plight of the Shaheen usually comes within the first few days of school.

“It usually starts off with your teachers saying ‘oh, I know a Shaheen, do you know so and so Shaheen?’ and then you just automatically have to say ‘oh, that’s my cousin,’ even if you don’t know if it’s a true cousin or whatnot,” Alysse said.

As the Shaheen Empire continues to expand, with Jeanne Shaheen as the Governor and now Senator of New Hampshire, and Adam Shaheen as the tight end of the Miami Dolphins, and while we’re not sure if they are cousins, we still claim them. As the Empire slowly assimilates all of America, is quite evident that the Shaheen Dynasty will not only continue to grow throughout Canton and Plain Local, but it will continue to grow throughout the world, until the Shaheen’s achieve world domination.