DEARBORN — Dearborn student Ronny Majeed Abdullah is one of 100 graduating high school students in the U.S. — and the only one in Michigan — to receive the prestigious Cooke College Scholarship.
Recipients will receive up to $55,000 annually to cover costs associated with their undergraduate education as they go on to attend some of the nation’s top colleges and universities next fall.
“I was in the middle of my shift at the pharmacy when I read my latest email and I just couldn’t believe it!” Abdullah said. “I became ecstatic and tried to run somewhere to read the post away from customers so they wouldn’t think I was crazy. More than anything, I felt blessed that I could celebrate this achievement with my friends and family during the holy month of Ramadan.”
Seniors Abdullah of Edsel Ford High School and Rehab Nader Jadallah of Fordson High School were informed they were semi finalists for the scholarship back in February.
They were two of four Michigan students on the highly selective list from across the country.
Cooke College Scholarship semifinalists were chosen from a pool of more than 5,300 applicants. Students applied from all 50 states, as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa.
Abdullah said he is a proud Arab American and Yemeni American and wrote about his identity and his active community service involvement in his application. He said he thinks this may be the biggest reason he was selected for the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship.
He’s always been driven academically and is constantly encouraged by his parents, both of whom immigrated to Dearborn from Yemen in the 1990s. He also looks to his older siblings for inspiration.
“I have four older siblings and four younger siblings. Growing up in such a large household can be hectic, but I’ve never taken it for granted,” Abdullah said. “I’ve learned so much from my older brothers and sisters and wish I can inspire my younger siblings to always strive academically and rely on their community for support.”
Aside from school, Abdullah loves playing basketball in his free time and is an avid fan of both the Michigan Wolverines football team and the Liverpool Football Club. One of his biggest goals is to help solve the ongoing Yemeni humanitarian crisis — a subject he thinks is far overlooked in the world and needs more significant attention.
Abdullah aspires to become a neurosurgeon, specifically focusing on functional neurosurgery. He plans to major in neuroscience and computer science this coming fall and has committed to attending Stanford University.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Cooke College Scholarship Program seeks to help high-achieving students with financial need earn a college degree. Responding to rising tuition costs and economic challenges faced by families across the country in the last two years, the Foundation has increased the maximum award amount for the scholarship to keep pace with college costs.
In addition to substantial financial support, Scholars also receive ongoing academic coaching and advising, graduate school and career advising, and access to a network of more than 2,800 active Cooke Scholars and alumni. Scholars will receive opportunities for internships, study abroad and access to graduate school funding.
The Foundation evaluated each submission and selected scholars based on their academic ability, persistence, leadership and financial need. The Scholars will go on to study in fields such as biological science, engineering, computer science, fine arts and political science.
“Our country is full of bright and motivated students,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We want to make sure those with financial need have the opportunity to succeed. We admire the determination displayed by the finalists this year and we’re extremely proud of these students’ achievements. We look forward to witnessing their future accomplishments.”
Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $230 million in scholarships to nearly 3,000 students from eighth grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services.