The fourth-annual College Access Fairfax Scholars’ awards reception was held last Wednesday, May 21 at Annandale High School. Eden Kassa of Reston was awarded a $1,000 scholarship to helps with expenses at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Upheaval in the life of a young child is sometimes difficult to overcome, but Eden has overcome upheaval more than once in her young life. At the age of 11, while living in Ethiopia, she was thrust into the role of mother to her 6-year-old brother. Instead of enjoying her childhood, she took on the adult activities of cooking, laundry and managing a household. And four years later, her life changed again when she was forced to flee Ethiopia with her brother for their own safety. An ESOL student, Eden has excelled academically. But her teachers and counselors at South Lakes talk about her work with others. She is part of ECDC, a UN refugee program which helps newcomers from throughout the world learn about their new home. She was elected President of SLICE — the South Lakes International Club for Education/Entertainment, the largest student club at her school. She is also active in DECA, Liberty Promise and the National Honor Society. Eden’s goal in life is to become a general surgeon and will start on that road majoring in biology at Juniata College in Pennsylvania.
Founded in 2004 by former Virginia Education Secretary James Dyke, School Board member Tessie Wilson and former School Board member Chris Braunlich, College Access Fairfax provides one-on-one financial aid advice and counseling to high school juniors and seniors in targeted high schools with high percentages of low-income and Limited English Proficient students.