Earlier this month, Alexandria City High School senior Abdelraman Aboud Abdelsadig received life-changing news. After submitting all his paperwork and waiting a month, Abdelsadi was awarded the competitive QuestBridge Scholarship to attend Colby College in Maine.
The scholarship is worth about $300,000, and Abdelsadig found out about the award at school on Dec. 1.
The 18-year-old was born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Sudan, and he and his mother and three siblings moved to Alexandria when he was in the first grade, where he attended Douglas MacArthur Elementary School.
“I’ve always been one to keep myself busy,” Abdelsadig told ALXnow. “I always like filling my time up with either an activity or a club or study time, but if I’m bored, like in middle school, I would just stay after school to have conversations with my teachers for like an extra hour. Or even in high school. I started joining a lot of clubs just to fill up my time.”
It was that same restlessness that turned Abdesadig onto QuestBridge. Tired of sticking around at home over the past year, he decided to get a job at Duck Donuts. It was through his coworkers that he found out about the scholarship.
Eglal Salih said she was ecstatic to get the news from her son.
“Oh my god, I was so happy,” she said. “I was so proud of him. He’s always been a good kid.”
Abdelsadig says he’ll be going in the sciences, but hasn’t made up his mind about the specifics. For the time being, he says, he is focused on human anatomy.
In his scholarship essay, he wrote about the digital divide between cultures, and how his background of living in a third world country created a thirst for knowledge.
“Basically, I gave a small insight into my history and how I was not from here, and how I didn’t always have access to large swaths of knowledge, like the internet or Google or anything like that,” he said. “When you don’t have something and you’re curious about certain topics, when those things become available to you, you can’t get enough of it. You just continuously want more and more and more. And that’s exactly how it was with anatomy, just learning in general. I was a giant sponge.”
Abdelsadig plans to first visit Colby College next summer.
Great work in the College and Career Center under Stacy Morris' leadership! Congratulations to Class of '22 Questbridge National Match Scholarship Winner Abdelraman Aboud Abdelsadig! He will be attending Colby College in Maine – this full-ride scholarship is worth over $300,000!! pic.twitter.com/vAEQFG1VHr
— Peter Balas (@PrincipalTitan) December 1, 2021
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria has raised enough funding to establish a new scholarship that will be named after a beloved former teacher.
The recently retired Beverly Vick was a highly regarded teacher at Douglas MacArthur Elementary School for 38 years and received the Excellence in Education award in 2009. Vick also worked with children through the American Girl Literature Club.
Dr. Vick officially celebrated her retirement from teaching in early October.
The fund has raised over $6,000 for the Dr. Beverly Vick Scholarship, which will be awarded to a 2022 graduate of Alexandria City High Schools in the spring. The original goal for the scholarship was to raise $3,000 which was then matched by an anonymous donor for a grand total of $6,341. Including the anonymous donor, 30 people lent their support by donating to the new scholarship.
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria was established in 1986 to provide support for college students who are judged as bright and hard-working. In addition to scholarships, the fund also offers advising on college, financial aid, and readiness support. The fund awards up to $1 million a year in scholarships to Alexandria City High School graduates.
The scholarships range from $12,000 to $20,000 over four years and are funded through donations from the Alexandria community.
Photo via Scholarship Fund of Alexandria/Facebook
The Eisenhower Partnership is planning an Oktoberfest celebration early next month to help raise funding for the Partnership’s Engin and Agnès Artemel Urban Planning Scholarship.
The scholarship is named for former Director of Planning Engin Artemel, who helped shape waterfront development in Alexandria and died last, and his wife Agnès Artemel, a realtor and president of Artemel & Associates Inc. The scholarship helps students from Alexandria City Public Schools and planning to major in a realty or urban planning related studies.
Eisenhower Partnership Executive Director Daniel Beason said the first award from the scholarship was given earlier this year to a rising freshman at George Mason who moved to Alexandria from Afghanistan and attended Alexandria High School.
The event is scheduled for The Garden by Building Momentum (5380 Eisenhower Avenue) at from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2. Tickets to the Oktoberfest are $5.
At a City Council meeting earlier this week, Council member Amy Jackson described what’s planned for the event.
“Proceeds will go to the [scholarship] spearheaded for his name,” Jackson said. “There will also be a TEDx type of stage to hear input from TEDx-type communication.”
The TEDx talks will run from 1-5 p.m. Beason said the TEDx talk will be hosted by TEDxOronocoBayPark.
Two ARHA residents receive $6,000 college scholarships — “Two Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) residents have been awarded $6,000 scholarships for the upcoming school year, thanks to the Resident Scholarship Program from the Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group. This is the second consecutive year Natasha Cross has been selected for the funding… Yonael Tekleberhan, a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University majoring in Business is the second awardee.” [ARHA]
The Italian Place is opening a location in Fairfax — “We are getting closer and closer to the grand opening on July 24th of the new Mosaic District location. If you haven’t registered yet, head over to our website to do so! We hope to see you all there!” [Facebook]
Del Ray Citizens Association hosting community pizza party Thursday — Come on out and join us this Thursday July 22 from 5 – 7pm at Del Ray Pizzeria, where the DRCA will be hosting a Del Ray Citizens Association Meet & Greet Pizza Party! Hang out with your fellow Del Ray superfans and enjoy some pizza, salad, tots, fries, and special happy hour pricing. DRP has set us up in the bar space, so we can enjoy some much-needed air conditioning. For those who may feel more comfortable socializing outdoors, we’re also working to set up a ‘spillover’ table in the Lot behind the restaurant.” [DRCA]
Park and recreation center signs replaced — “The signs at Ruby Tucker Park, Fort Williams Park, and Mt. Vernon Recreation Center were replaced with City standard signs last week. The signs were replaced to update addresses or broken and missing signs. Look out for new signs coming to Shirley Tyler Unity Park and William Ramsay Recreation Center coming this fall.” [Facebook]
Today’s weather — “Sunshine and some clouds (during the day). High 92F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph… Considerable clouds early (in the evening). Some decrease in clouds late. Low 72F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New job: Package delivery driver — “UPS is accepting applications for temporary, seasonal full-time Package Delivery Drivers. This is a physical, fast-paced, outdoor position that involves continual lifting, lowering and carrying packages that typically weigh 25 – 35 lbs. and may weigh up to 70 lbs. A DOT physical exam is required. Package Delivery Drivers must have excellent customer contact and driving skills.” [Indeed]
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria gave away a record $525,000 in college scholarships this year to 183 graduating seniors from T.C. Williams High School.
The nonprofit made the announcement this week after conducting a virtual ceremony to congratulate the awardees.
“We are so very proud of the next generation of nurses, doctors, business leaders, computer scientists, biologists, and professors who are heading off to college this fall thanks to the generosity of this community,”said SFA Executive Director Beth Lovain. “What I want to convey most is that in a year wrought with challenges, our Class of 2021 SFA Scholars have not only endured, but they have triumphed. They are truly ‘Generation Resilient.’ Through all of the adversity and through all of the challenges of COVID and 2021 they have remained poised and focused; their college dreams would not be pushed aside.”
SFA will also award $550,000 in renewal scholarships to help previous recipients from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 graduates who are now in college.
“I am so grateful and so honored to have been awarded a scholarship and I’m so proud of each and every one of you for being awarded one as well,” said Karam Burjas, T.C. senior class president. “I also want to give a big thank you to all of the donors and people who supported the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria this past year; without your gracious support none of this would’ve been possible.”
The nonprofit has awarded $17 million in scholarships since it was founded in 1986. Last year, SFA awarded $504,000 in scholarships to 181 graduating seniors, in addition to the $550,000 in renewal scholarships.
Photo via ACPS/Facebook
The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria has done it again. On Saturday, the nonprofit raised more than $450,000 for college-bound Alexandria students at its annual gala, which was held virtually for the second year in a row.
The gala was held this year at Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota, which also raffled off a $25,000 Toyota RAV-4 to T.C. Williams High School biology teacher Jennifer Darque. More than 400 dinners and deals were also auctioned off in the event, which was attended in-person by Mayor Justin Wilson and his wife, Alex Crawford-Batt, who received a SFA scholarship when she was a student.
“The need for scholarships in this community is great,” said SFA Director Beth Lovain. “Each year we have to turn kids away because we simply do not have the funds to help all of our students in need, especially this year with the economic fallout from COVID wreaking havoc on families that already struggle financially. But what I want to convey most is my overwhelming pride in our 2021 scholarship recipients. They are truly Generation Resilient. Through all of the adversity and through all of the challenges of COVID and 2020, they have remained poised and focused, their college dreams will not be pushed aside”
The Scholarship Fund awarded $525,000 in scholarships to 180 students from the class of 2021. Last year, SFA awarded $507,000 to 181 students, and the nonprofit has given $17 million to more than 5,000 students since its founding in 1986.
“I couldn’t be more grateful,” said T.C. senior Mikias Elias after receiving the $40,000 SFA Collis Warner Scholarship. “This scholarship brings great relief to my family knowing that college won’t be a financial struggle for us.”
Elias was recently accepted into the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech.
“This scholarship will make my education at Virginia Tech possible,” he said. “On behalf of the Class of 2021 Scholarship awardees, I’d also like to say we are all relieved to know that we have financial support, and we are so proud that you believe in us.”
📣📣📣 CONGRATS @JenniferDargue WINNER of @AlexandToyota GRAND PRIZE RAFFLE Saturday Night Ms. Dargue is 20yr vet @TCWTitans bio teacher & coach! She takes home $25K Thanks to raffle tickets purchased & donated for teachers by @jtaylor954 Thx @justindotnet for doing the honors! pic.twitter.com/amdAOwyEDy
— Scholarship Fund (@AlexScholarship) April 26, 2021
Sara Abbas was momentarily speechless.
Earlier this month, officials with the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria faked her out on a scheduled Zoom interview.
After she answered a few basic questions, they announced that she just won the first-ever $40,000 Titans In Tech Scholarship. The next thing she knew the call was joined by Superintendent Gregory Hutchings, Jr., T.C Williams principal Peter Balas, SFA Director Beth Lovain and her mentor Brett Sirois, a 2007 Titan alum and creator of the scholarship.
It was a surprising moment, and that’s when Abbas stood up and walked away from the camera to tell her family the good news.
“I was so shocked,” Abbas told ALXnow. “They’d already made their decision.”
Hutchings received the scholarship when he attended T.C. in 1995.
“Sara, this scholarship helped pave the way for my success and I know it will do that for you,” Hutchings said. “As a woman and a person of color entering the computer science world and looking to help students of color who follow behind you, I can see that you are on the way to change the world, that you are going to make a difference.”
Balas said that the scholarship will be a game-changer for Abbas.
“This scholarship is going to be a game-changer for you and your family,” he said. “And I can see that you are going to be a game-changer, too.”
There has been a 25% increase in applications for Scholarship Fund of Alexandria awards, and $525,000 is being given out to 180 seniors this year at its 35th anniversary spring gala on April 24. The Scholarship Fund has awarded $16.5 million to nearly 5,000 Alexandria students over the last 35 years.
“As a TC Alum and Alexandria native, I wanted to find a way to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today,” Sirois said. “This scholarship was created to help a student like Sara jumpstart their career in technology and I’m happy to play a small part in her future success. Sara has worked so hard to get so far already, I have no doubt that the sky is the limit for her.”
Abbas will study computer science at Virginia Tech this fall. She said she wants to help children learn coding.
“I’m really honored to have been awarded the Titans In Tech scholarship,” Abbas said. “It’s very meaningful, not only financially but emotionally as well because it strengthened my belief in myself. There’s no doubt that we’ll be able to accomplish my professional goals.”
In her scholarship essay, she wrote about the digital divide between the haves and have nots in society.
“I was writing how the link between technology and power, and how we need to care about making communities a more equitable place, and need to make computer science education available to everyone, since students of color are disadvantaged youth,” she said. “I’m really hoping to work in the middle schools in the surrounding Blacksburg area.”
Photo via Scholarship Fund of Alexandria
All proceeds from the Alexandria Drive-In go to charity, and on Thursday (March 4) the nonprofit cut a check for $20,700 to the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria.
“I have never been more inspired with this community coming together as we did with the Alexandria Drive-In,” said Alexandria Drive-In founder Kelly Grant, who is a partner at Alx Community. “Its impact will have a ripple effect on our community for years to come; this check of over $20,000 is just the start. We are proud to help so many young students receive college scholarships and be able to reach their full potential.”
All proceeds from the drive-in, which returns tonight (Friday) with Jurassic Park, go to Athena Rapid Response Innovation Lab and the Scholarship Fund. The money will provide college scholarships for Class of 2021 graduates from T.C. Williams High School.
“On behalf our student scholars, we are incredibly grateful to the Drive-In and organizing partners ALX Communityand The Garden for selecting SFA as one of the charities that benefited from this past season,” said Rosie Wiedemer, SFA Relationship Manager. “We are so thankful to Garden COO Allen Brooks, also a Titan alum and former SFA scholarship recipient, and to Kelly Grant, COO of ALX Community for bringing the SFA in as a participating charity so that together we can send more Alexandria students with financial need to college.”
Alexandria’s Bridgette Adu-Wadier has a soft spot in her heart for Black female investigative journalists.
“We need young people to be investigating, and to be curious, and to be challenging,” Adu-Wadier told ALXnow.
Adu-Wadier, who is an editor for the T.C. Williams High School newspaper Theogony, was recently named one of 1,464 students (out of 18,500 applicants) around the country to be awarded the QuestBridge National College Match Scholarship. She was also recently honored as one of the country’s up-and-coming storytellers by PBS.
A first generation daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, she’s the eldest of four kids, and, while born in New York, has spent most of her life in Alexandria. She attended John Adams Elementary School and Francis C. Hammond Middle School.
ALXnow: How did you get the scholarship? Did you write a good essay?
Adu-Wadier: I do believe I wrote a really good essay, I spent a lot of time. Just trying to make it reflect me and my personal journey and how I developed my writing and how I blossomed as a writer. I talked a lot about how I started out doing a lot of creative writing and writing short stories and how I kind of wanted to tell stories and write about things that I observed in the world and elevate the voices of my generation.
It’s a four year scholarship, which I’m really excited about. It covers tuition, it covers room and board, transportation, my textbooks and my living expenses. Questbridge is just a really comprehensive scholarship and I’m really grateful to have that, especially given that, in school, I can just focus on my degree.
ALXnow: What inspired you to be a journalist?
Adu-Wadier: It’s really been inspiring to see so many journalists challenge modern institutions throughout (the last) four years… In my view, this is kind of a reiteration of the Watergate era in many ways, especially given a lot of the 2018 impeachment trial proceedings and a lot of the journalism that was coming out about the transparency of the federal government.
I did a lot of work for my school TV media program, and I would interview students on video as well, and it was just really eye opening seeing that my generation notices a lot of things and they take on a lot of what’s going on a lot more than adults understand. The peers I’ve interviewed are just really frustrated that adults don’t get that they’re not too young to understand and have a voice on a lot of issues that are going on, and to be curious and to want to investigate. We need young people to be investigating and to be curious and to be challenging.
ALXnow: What’s it been like doing all of your reporting and schoolwork and applications from home during the pandemic?
Adu-Wadier: I’ve had story deadlines on the same day as my college applications and that was a big mess. There’s been a lot of things that have been interesting that I’ve had to adapt to, and, having a noisy house and trying to do interviews from my closet since it’s the only quiet place.
ALXnow: What kind of stories do you envision yourself telling down the road?
Adu-Wadier: I really like doing stories on education to report on. People don’t really invest that much in public education, and I have that personal experience in public education and the policies and legislation passed, as well as talking to students about their high school and college admissions experiences. A lot of those stories are really under told.
Soon, I’ll be reporting on college administrators and what they’re doing, and I’m really excited to do that. Another thing that I’m really really excited to report on is just civil rights… And just seeing how societal inequities affect different racial demographics, especially regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately impacted by exposure to the virus. That’s really fascinating.
ALXnow: Which journalists do you admire?
Adu-Wadier: I really appreciate Gwen Ifill and Yamiche Alcindor for everything that they’re doing, and especially on the ocean how she keeps her head out, especially with everything that she went through with the Trump administration and her trying to just do her job and what happened with her. Also, Gwen Ifil,… She comes from a similar background as me in that she was starting off with local newspapers and she experienced a lot of challenges and racism, and then she went on to host Washington Week and co-anchor PBS NewsHour and work with Judy Woodruff. I really really appreciate those two.
I also really look up to Ida B. Wells in how she really challenged institutions and launched this crusade against lynching and how she very much risked her life in doing so.
Overall, I just have a really soft spot for Black female journalists in general, so those are my top three. I also really really like Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward and I try to emulate them and how rigorous and relentless they were and their investigative pieces of Watergate. And, you know, I love All The President’s Men. I read the book, and I watched the movie and I just think it’s admirable what they did and just what they took on and the risks that they were taking and challenging directly.
Beyer Refutes Trump’s Claims of Media Spin Over Tax Payments — “No, ‘everyone else’ didn’t write off payments to their children and $70,000 for haircuts so they could live a lavish lifestyle while only paying $750 in taxes. Trump remains the only major party candidate for president in 40 years who refused to release his tax returns.” [Twitter]
ACPS Asks Community to Discuss Future Facilities Projects, School Sites — “As ACPS and the City start looking at the need to rebuild, replace, add to or modernize schools, fire stations, police facilities and more, local officials are asking for feedback on the Joint City-ACPS Facilities Master Plan.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Chefs Compete on ‘Chopped’ Reality Show Tonight — “Alexandria chef-owner Mimi Huynh of modern Vietnamese restaurant Sunday in Saigon at 682 N. St. Asaph Street and chef Chris Edwards of newly opened Hank & Mitzi’s Italian Kitchen, located at 600 Montgomery Street, will appear on Food Network’s “Chopped” tomorrow night.” [Zebra]
Longtime Friends Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists — “When Aiden Crowe, Nikolai Kosinski and Caroline Winakur reached eighth grade at George Washington Middle School, their math ability was such that the trio were literally in a class of their own. Algebra 2 with Sarah Devito became a class of three as teachers sought to individualize learning in the subject area they all excelled at. They have remained good friends ever since. And earlier this month, the T.C. Williams High School seniors discovered they had all been named National Merit Scholarship semi finalists after outstanding results in the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test last October.” [ACPS]
Today’s Weather — “Rain showers in the morning then thundershowers in the afternoon. High 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rain likely (in the evening). Low 56F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a half an inch. Locally heavy rainfall possible.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Marketing Communications Specialist — “To be successful in this position, the Marketing Communications Specialist must demonstrate strong persuasive writing skills, strong digital layout design skills and be an overall expert in digital and social media marketing.” [Indeed]