Meet Our Scholars
How do you define character? Grit? We decided it would be by letting our 2019 Moe123 scholarship recipients share their stories. Their stories are stories of rising to the occasion, never quitting, gratitude, and lots of grit. Bright futures await each of our scholars through their hard work, dedication, and tenacity. We are proud to introduce our scholars below.
Education has shaped Aadil Bede’s life. His parents arrived in the United States in 1996 escaping conflicts in Somalia and Ethiopia to search for better opportunities. Aadil saw his parents work hard to adapt to their new life and that sentiment has stayed with him as he’s worked hard to pursue his education. With his parents’ example, Aadil has aimed to help others in everything he does. He is an active member of the We Act Service group, has taken the full International Baccalaureate (IB) program course load, is employed by Goodwill, and spends many hours volunteering with organizations through his church - all while maintaining a strong GPA. His inspirational quote is one by Steve Irwin who said, “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” It’s fitting that Aadil’s future goals include medical school to become a surgeon because he feels he will be able to help patients and the community.
Jeliah Ogega believes that challenging herself is the way to success and that’s exactly what she’s done throughout her high school journey to prepare for college. She’s challenged herself academically by taking High Performance (HP), Advanced Placement (AP), and Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) classes as well as serving as president of National Honor Society (NHS) and Brooklyn Park Interact Club, a group that is composed of and run by students to serve in the community. While Jeliah describes her nature as timid, she made it a point to step outside of her comfort zone and participate in leadership positions. Inspired by her mom’s advice of “do things when it’s your time,” Jeliah is eager to give back to other aspiring students via mentorship and networking to help them grow socially and mentally just like she has. In the future, Jeliah dreams of becoming a nurse practitioner and being able to take care of underrepresented populations like the people she met in Xecam, Guatemala on a student trip during her sophomore year.
Jireh Babalola’s life took a different direction after her family relocated to the United States from Nigeria to escape Boko Haram and terrorism spreading across the region. While Jireh struggled to adjust to her new life in the US, she poured her attention into her studies and recognized the significance of the opportunities she had. “Moving and adjusting to American culture was a real struggle, but in every struggle, there is always a blessing and a lesson,” she explained to us. Her accomplishments include taking the full International Baccalaureate (IB) program through her junior and senior years of high school, participating in track and field and receiving numerous awards by competing in conference and state-level meets, playing soccer and earning season MVP, as well as joining clubs like Senior Class Cabinet, the We-Act volunteering group, Student Advisory Committee, College Possible, and started WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) to inspire more females to study and enter the engineering industry. Jireh will pursue her bachelor’s in engineering and hopes to give back to students by encouraging them to pursue their education past high school.
When Envy Agbonkhese’s father left Nigeria to serve the U.S. National Guard in 2005, she had no idea that just one year later, she and her mother and sisters would be on a plane ready to take off and join him. She had no idea where Minnesota was, the air was cold, and the realization settled in that she wouldn’t be returning to Nigeria. She began school and after two years, no longer needed ELL language support. Envy admired her parents’ work ethic which made her want to prove to herself that she could match it in her schoolwork. Her sisters encouraged her further reminding her that despite the difficulties they had endured, that they were able to excel in school and achieve their goals. Envy dedicated herself to High Performance (HP) classes and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program as well as participated in cross country and class cabinet, the group that plans the school’s prom and “spirit week.” She also joined National Honor Society where she helped with conferences, a school blood drive, and pep fests. In addition, she was chosen to attend the Girls State for a week at Bethel University, an experience that helps young women learn about government and empowers them to achieve their goals as well as the group College Possible. In the future, Envy will pursue a career as a nurse-midwife as she holds a special interest in women’s health. She holds the sacrifices her parents made close to her heart and plans to use that inspiration to help her peers and women in the world.
MALIKA ACHINGALE BARBIE ODERA
Malika Achingale Barbie Odera never considers her losses or setbacks as failures. In fact, it only ignites her drive to persist until the best results are achieved. Malika and her family relocated to the United States in 2017 - just two years ago. She experienced a large culture shock which challenged her to adapt. To do that, Malika took Advanced Placement (AP) classes and got a job her senior year where she’s worked 27 hours a week while still maintaining her G.P.A. In October of 2018, Malika underwent an eye muscle surgery which left her with one strong eye during her recovery period. This didn’t stop her from studying and doing her assignments, on time, and she managed to resume school one week later with assignments checked off and her G.P.A. holding strong. She’s been accepted to the University of North Dakota where she plans to pursue her undergraduate degree in Forensic Science. Her ultimate goal is to become a profiler who works for the F.B.I. to positively impact the future by helping law enforcement agencies identify even the most elusive suspects in an investigation. Earning the Moe123 scholarship helped Malika to another milestone in her college preparation: she will be debt-free for her first year of college. She explained that, as a low-income student, this will allow her more time to focus on her studies and relieve financial stress on her family.