DEARBORN – Fatima Taj, a Fordson High School graduate with a 4.48 GPA and served as class valedictorian, is something of a renaissance woman.
The Harvard-bound 18-year-old served as president of Fordson’s book and art club, was a member of the Key Club, the Link Crew, the Teen Grant Making Initiative, the varsity tennis team and the National Honors Society. She’s also an ACCESS Acts volunteer.
Taj’s scholarly and volunteer efforts won her a full ride to the University of Michigan and the University of California’s campuses in both Los Angeles and Berkeley. However, she chose to pursue research in a yet-undeclared field at Harvard.
“I’m a quick learner and I take something away from everything I do,” she said. “I just wanted to make the most out of high school and use the available opportunities to make the best of it.”
“I just wanted to make the most out of high school and use the available opportunities to make the best of it.” -Fatima Taj
A lover of the arts, literature and community service, Taj got herself involved in several extracurriculars like passing out uplifting cards every month to cancer patients at Heartland Health Care Center in Dearborn Heights.
As a member of the Teen Grant Making Initiative, she helped raise money for non-profits in the area, including for HAVEN (Help Against Violent Encounters Now), a domestic violence shelter.
Taj is a multimedia artist and said she loves to draw and paint on canvas and digitally, in addition to being writing short stories and poetry as hobbies.
She said one of her favorite courses was advanced placement studio art, where for three years she was able to culminate about 60 pieces of artwork. This year, 15 out of 24 pieces she submitted to a city-wide art contest for high school seniors from the three Dearborn public high schools were displayed for more than a month at the Padzieski Galley at the Ford community and Performing Arts Center.
Through the art club, Taj was able to paint murals and restore a few hallways at her school, including a mural in progress that will decorate the English hallway with titles of must-read books labeled on their spines.
“The idea is to promote literacy through mural and inspire someone to pick up a book,” she said.
Taj excelled in English and started out taking a 10th grade level course in her freshman year. During her first semester of senior year, she took a dual enrollment college research and writing course that helped her understand different works of literature more deeply, interacted with people and listened to viewpoints that were valuable to her education.
Playing tennis was also a big part of Taj’s high school career. She said she loved playing the sport because it helped her center her focus and clear her mind before exams.
Aside from meeting Harvard’s admission standards, she stated in her essay that she underscored her passion for community service, which helped her become the person she is today, and indicated how those qualities will help her shape a better future.
She has not yet chosen a concentration, but knows she wants to do research in whatever path she ends up taking. She’ll be moving to Boston this August and said her parents are “through the roof” about her admission into an ivy league school. She also said she’ll miss the community that raised her.
Taj thanked God, her family, her teachers and her counselors for their support throughout her journey at Fordson.
“Have faith and pursue your passion,” she said. “With honesty, hard work and with support, you can achieve anything in life.”