DEARBORN — Rehab Nader Jadallah, a senior at Fordson High School, and Ronny Majeed Abdullah from Edsel B. Ford High School, have been named semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship Foundation’s Cooke College Scholarship.
Two other Michigan students are on the highly selective list that saw thousands of applicants from across the country.
The two Dearborn students are among 411 high school seniors from across the country who have been chosen as semifinalists for the prestigious Cooke College Scholarship. The highly selective scholarship provides high-achieving students with financial needs up to $55,000 annually for four years of college, to enable them to attend a top college or university.
Cooke College Scholarship semifinalists were chosen from a pool of more than 5,300 applicants. Semifinalist applications will be reviewed again to choose approximately 60 finalists to receive the scholarship. The 2022 Cooke College Scholars will be announced in April.
Abdullah was born and raised in Dearborn, went to Salina Elementary, Salina Intermediate schools and said he wants to give back to his community. He is current top of his class at Edsel Ford High School.
He said he is “a proud Arab American and Yemeni American” and wrote about his background and his heavy community science involvement in his college application, which secured him an acceptance to Stanford University on a full ride.
“I also wants to work to solve the Yemeni humanitarian crisis in the future,” Abdullah told The Arab American News. “I’ve always been driven academically and constantly encouraged by my parents, both of whom immigrated to Dearborn from Yemen in the 1990s.”
Abdullah said he wants to become a neurosurgeon, specifically focusing on functional neurosurgery. He currently works full-time as well at a local Pharmor Pharmacy as a Pharmacy technician.
Jadallah said she didn’t go into the application process with many expectations but took a chance anyway.
“I was really shocked to see yesterday that I made it as a semifinalist,” Jadallah told The Arab American News.
The Fordson senior said she wants to major in biomedical engineering and minor in neuroscience at college. She has an active interest in computer science and says resources at her school district have helped her engage with her interests.
“I’m in an advanced math program (Dearborn Center for Math, Science, and Technology), and feel like being in that program has given me opportunities to be exposed to computer science,” Jadallah said. “I was able to take computer courses for my freshman year and was able to do projects. I know students from Fordson that aren’t in that program don’t get the same opportunity.”
Jadallah is the president of the Girls Who Code club at DCMST, and says that as a girl interested in sciences, she received plenty of encouragement from her teacher Kim Shawver. She has advice for other students like her that want to shoot for big opportunities after high school.
“Applying to colleges and scholarships is a big, overwhelming thing, (but) I really think students should just go for it,” she said. “Look at examples online, reach out to people that you know, don’t be afraid to ask for help from people that have gone through this process.”
Those words ring true given that students applied from all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa, representing 378 high schools, applied for the competitive scholarship.
“This year’s semifinalists should be particularly proud of their success in the face of a challenging year,” said the foundation’s Executive Director Seppy Basili. “We are so happy to help more students achieve their long-term academic goals. All of the applicants will be an asset to the colleges and universities they attend in the fall.”
Cooke College Scholars are selected based on exceptional academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence and leadership. Students must be current high school seniors residing in the U.S. Scholarships are awarded without respect to religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, geographic region, race or ethnicity, the foundation says.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial needs.
Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded more than $230 million in scholarships to more than 2,930 students from eighth grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive educational advising and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $119.5 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.