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Friday, May 26, 2017

Rewarding the Determination to Succeed

Having a high grade point average (GPA) is great, but proving that you have the drive to roll with life’s punches on your journey to college is also important. And for three Mansfield ISD seniors, that trait is being rewarded.

The Dell Scholars Program annually awards $20,000, a laptop, textbook credits and ongoing support to students who demonstrate that they have a different type of GPA—grit, potential and ambition.

Medina (left) and Ali (right) said they value service
and want to make a difference in people's lives.
Timberview High School’s Maria Medina and Hana Ali, along with Summit High School’s Samira Bideh, were three of the 400 finalists nationwide.

Medina said she has come a long way from being the little girl who moved to the U.S. from Mexico and didn’t learn English until the second grade. Despite the naysayers and doubters she encountered, she was determined to make something of herself.

“I started getting really good at English by fourth grade,” Medina said. “The next year, I was taking Pre-AP classes. I was nervous at first, but my teachers kept encouraging me to try it.”

The senior is now graduating from high school with enough credits to enter Texas A&M University as a sophomore this fall in hopes of becoming an immigration lawyer and, eventually, the president of Mexico.

Her classmate Ali also knows a thing or two about not letting life’s experiences deter the future. The fellow Dell Scholar lost her father when she was in the eighth grade. Instead of making excuses for herself, she pushed herself even harder.

“It was a hard time for my family,” Ali explained. “But I’ve always valued education, and I knew it’s what my dad would have wanted. Doing good in school would make my parents proud, and that’s what I wanted to continue to do.”

And there’s certainly a lot to be proud of. Ali will be graduating as valedictorian of her class. She will also be attending the University of Texas at Arlington with a full ride and some leftover money for medical school.

Bideh said she's ready to take on college
and further her education in graduate school.
Over at Summit High School, Bideh spent her high school years striving to succeed by juggling school, a job and her extracurricular activities—all while still keeping up with her grades. She said her determination comes from her parents who came to America from Somali speaking little to no English when she was an infant.

“They didn’t know the system or how anything worked since it was a new country,” she recalled. “I just kept putting education first. But even if you don’t have the best grades, showcase the different things you’re good at to prove to colleges that you have what it takes.”

Bideh, who is one of six siblings, said that she plans to attend the University of Arlington. She wants to major in biology to become a physician assistant.

Although these ladies may have had different life paths and obstacles, they kept their positive attitude through it all. Now, with the welcomed surprise of being a 2017 Dell Scholar, they will be able to use their positivity to help others through their respective careers.