Friday, August 5, 2011

Raaheela Ahmed Named As David Craig Scholar

By Doug Mangum, for the Greenbelt News Review
See the article in the News Review at:

Raaheela Ahmed has been selected as this year’s David Craig Scholarship winner. The annual prize provides four-year scholarship assistance totaling $10,000in $2,500 installments to the student selected. When you first meet Ahmed you are captivated by the comfort and ease with which she listens and speaks with complete strangers. We had never met, yet I instantly felt a connection between her well-mannered humility and her warm regard for others. In the fall Ahmed, who lives in Bowie, will enter the University of Maryland with plans to pursue a biology/pre-med major. Her love for science and people will serve her well. She already possesses a tremendous ability for caring and communicating that should translate into an honest-to-goodness bedside manner.

The night I met her at the Eleanor Roosevelt High School(ERHS) senior awards ceremony, she received several awards – she was one of 71 members of the class of 2011 who maintained a4.0 GPA or above – she received the Marguerite DeRosa Scholarship and the National Honor Society Scholarship. But what most impressed me was her presentation of the National Honor Society Outstanding Teacher Award. She gave a spirited and eloquent introduction as the president of the National Honor Society for her AP Chemistry teacher, Coit Hendley.

Ahmed is an organizer. She created the Do Something Club her junior year and served as its president.
She also served as president for the school’s SADD and National Honor Society chapters. Ahmed also received a citation from Governor Martin O’Malley for outstanding service. In keeping with her club’s name, Ahmed has truly done something with her time at ERHS.

Volunteer Activities

The many volunteer involvements in Ahmed’s school, community and mosque are extensive. They range from collecting school supplies, jeans, nonperishable foods, money and small toys and trinkets to creating cards, writing thank you letters to overseas service members, picking up trash at the Anacostia River clean-up and donating to Locks for Love. The list goes on. Her interests are as varied as her service hours are long.
Ahmed’s faith is deeply rooted and the guiding force for her extensive selfless acts of kindness, humility and generosity. She says that her faith is more than her beliefs; it is her lifestyle. Ahmed put that lifestyle to the
test when she became a member of the girls rugby team her sophomore year. Coming from a culture where women are not encouraged to play sports and, weathering disapproval from members of her community as
well as breaking stereotypes of Muslim girls, she paved the way for her friends also to reconsider the way they see themselves in society. During her time on the team she has brought other Muslim girls to the sport, one of whom I met after the awards ceremony. Both of them flashed beaming smiles when talking of their
athletic experiences. Ahmed was named Player of the Year by their coach in her second season, an award she is thrilled to talk about. Awards have also come to her in the area of Science Fair participation.

Ahmed is many things, though I see her as a pioneer and explorer. She has spent her four years of high school exploring vast avenues of teenage experience, knowing it is okay to be herself wherever she
goes and whatever she does. She is excited to be able to attend college and will undoubtedly explore
all that has to offer her. Ahmed joins Erin Donn and Brendan Cusack (also a University of Maryland student)  and Joel Sparkes (University of Michigan) as current recipients.

Doug Mangum is president of the David Craig Memorial Scholarship Fund.