2020 Justice High School Scholarship Recipients
In 2020, the Foundation was pleased to be able to award scholarships to 69 motivated and deserving students. Here is just a sample of their inspiring stories.
Lizzany’s defining characteristic is leadership. According to one of her teachers, Lizzany has a “natural ability to make everyone around her feel at ease, and to encourage any group that she inspires to do more than is expected.” To that end, as president of the Interact Club, she organized and led a sewing program where Justice students made a suitcase full of clothing for a school in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). Also, along with the Girl Up club, she organized creating reusable health kits for girls at the school in Eswatini. She has received awards for her leadership abilities from several organizations, including the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Rotary Club. All while earning an IB bi-lingual diploma, and, for fun, dancing semi-professionally. She is proud of her Hispanic culture, and proud to be an American, determined to work hard, and have a positive impact. Lizzany will attend Bryn Mawr college.
Jonathan dreams of becoming a neuroscientist, and despite all the hardships and dislocation that came from immigrating, as he did from Peru at the age of eight, he is making that dream come true. Attending the National Youth Leadership Forum for Advanced Medicine at Johns Hopkins University helped Jonathan along the path to his goal. But it is his determination and hard work, two qualities Jonathan possesses in abundance according to his teachers, that will drive his success in college and beyond. Along those lines, Jonathan worked at a restaurant and with his family business through high school to help the family through his father’s difficult health situation. Jonathan will pursue his drive toward medicine at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Faisal and Mohamed have known each other since before they were born—which is not surprising given the fact they are twins. They spent their early years in Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. just before starting their freshman year at Justice. Neither knew much English at that point, but they worked hard to learn their new country’s language. Over time, this allowed them to take challenging IB courses and help others. Faisal served in the community by interpreting for Afghani immigrants who had not yet gotten comfortable with English. Mohamed mentored new students at Justice in English and study skills. Both young men will go to George Mason University, where Faisal will study civil engineering and Mohamed will study computer science. Both dream of helping children in Afghanistan receive educational opportunities such as the ones they had in the United States.
Fariha’s goal is to make a difference. She tutored an elementary school student for a year; at the end of the school year, the little girl’s teacher remarked on her vast improvement in speaking and reading English. Fariha and her female high school friends grew frustrated at the lack of access to feminine hygiene products. They worked with school administrators to place dispensers of these products—freely available to the students—in each of Justice’s women’s restrooms. The dispensers were such a success it led to 37 other Fairfax County schools instituting an identical program. She will build on her time at Justice—she earned straight As and an IB diploma—and attend the University of Virginia. There she will study biological sciences and public health, with the intent of earning a medical degree. Her goal is to make a difference to those with autism by finding ways for them to communicate more effectively with their family members.
Katherine exemplifies many of the students to whom the Justice High School Scholarship Fund awards scholarships. English was not her native language. Her parents do not have the financial resources to help pay for college. Katherine took a challenging course load at Justice, did very well, and earned an IB diploma. She had a part-time job for years to earn money for the family and was active in her family’s church. She gave back to the community by mentoring younger ESOL students. According to a teacher who knows her well, Katherine possesses an “inquisitive mind … [and] the work ethic and intellect to be successful in college.” Katherine will be first in the family to attend university—in her case, William and Mary, where she will study political science or engineering.
Archana has a crystal-clear image of where she wants to be in 10 years: through her education in environmental engineering, she plans to work to save millions from the disastrous effects of environmental threats. Perhaps her two summers with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, working on molecular biology and electron microscope research projects and culminating in a presentation to scientists and the public, or her work with the George Washington University Anthropology Department, sent her down this path. But it is the words of her teachers that lead us to believe she will make good on her goals: “brilliant,” “curious,” “highly motivated,” “strong in character.” Not content to sit back, Archana is a founding member of the Science Honor Society, has made it to the state competition two of three years with the Science Olympiad, restarted a mentorship program at her elementary school, worked with her family to rebuild a temple in her parents’ village in India, and worked on an educational campaign to address human trafficking. Archana will attend Yale University.
Zulma immigrated to the U.S. at a young age, so it is perhaps no surprise she found her passion in Social Anthropology. Her school counselor wrote she loves learning about the different cultures in the U.S. and around the world, and understanding their differing perspectives. From Nicaragua, Zulma appreciates and has tried to take advantage of all that America provides. She won first place in the Regional Forensic Competition and placed as an alternate for the state competition. She organized a fundraiser for SchoolCycle, a group that provides bicycles to girls to allow them to go to school. She also worked part-time at a travel medicine clinic, volunteered in her church’s religious education program, and worked as a camp counselor for two summers. She did all this while maintaining a high GPA and IB course load. Zulma plans on attending Virginia Commonwealth University, and notes the scholarship is particularly important because her parents’ employment situation has been severely impacted by the pandemic.