Still They Rise: Students honored at Madinah’s Educational Foundation program

OKLAHOMA CITY – The annual scholarship and awards ceremony for Madinah’s Educational Foundation and Scholarship Program (MEd) occurred August 20 at the state Capitol Blue Room. Setting the the tone, moderator Zakiyyah Abdul-Raheem quoted educator Marva Collins: 
“Excellence is not an act but a habit. The things you do the most are the things you will do best.”
Speakers included Ameenah Fuller, Valeria Benabdallah, and Jasmyn Abdul-Raheem a TV producer. Honorees and awardees were selected based on grade point average (GPA), extra-curricular activities and volunteerism.
Fuller, the group’s founder, quoted First Lady Michelle Obama: “Choose people who lift you Up.” Fuller emphasized mentoring and internships to enhance opportunities: “This is the building of a great foundation for your next big steps in life.” 
Fuller established Madinah’s Educational Foundation and Scholarship Program (MEd Foundation) to honor her grandmother Madinah, who was an education advocate. Fuller said, “She promoted my aunt to become a teacher. My aunt taught elementary school for approximately 30 years. She always promoted the importance of education for young people by focusing their goals on college.”
MEd supports and promotes students climbing the college-bound ladder through  the MEd Scholarship Program. A Toastmasters Youth Leadership program now gives students confidence and public speaking skills.
Jasmyn Abdul-Raheem (producer from KWTV channel 9) shared experiences and challenges in broadcast journalism. She talked about working as a professional and team player in a new environment as an intern. Valeria Benabdallah shared college experiences, and the challenges and importance of selecting the right major. Participants had opportunities to reflect on education, seeing the achievements of winning students. 
One recipient, Tobie Mitchell, had a 4.35 GPA from Northeast Academy. She will attend University of Central Oklahoma Nursing program. Samuel Stephens was a second scholarship recipient, with a 3.60 GPA from University of Arizona studying Linguistics.
Other Honorees included: Mekayla Holmes – Eighth grader at Jarman Mid Del; National Honor Society; Gabriel Abdul-Raheem – Senior at Carl Albert High, 4.0 GPA and honor roll; Benjamen Abdul-Raheem – Sophomore at Carl Albert High, resident’s honor roll and a member of the Gifted and Talented Student Club. 4.5 GPA; and Ieashia Fox –  Graduate of Putnam City North High School with special honors. The program ended with Ieashia’s dramatic reading of Maya Angelo’s “Still I Rise.”

“Paying it forward is what the foundation promotes by helping support families and our community,” a press release said. To join the foundation, visit their Facebook page and website at