Ibraheem Khan Named 2018 Presidential Scholar
by Israel Gomez
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced the selection of Northside senior Ibraheem Khan, Adv. 810, as a U.S. Presidential Scholar on May 8, 2018.
Khan was one of of 161 students recognized by the Secretary of Education who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and community. Of the 3.6 million students expected to graduate from high school in 2018, more than 5,200 candidates qualify for the awards determined by outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams. The U.S. Presidential Scholars are comprised of one male student and one female student from each state, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.
For Khan, it all started that first fateful September when he entered the halls of Northside College Prep. From the moment he walked in, graduation was the first thing on his mind. However, simply graduating would not please Khan’s academic drive. His sights were set on leaving a mark on Northside along his path to graduation; and leave a mark he did.
One of the ways Khan improved Northside’s culture was through his work as president of Northside’s Muslim club, Jama’ah club. As president, Khan hosted school-wide potluck dinners, led his cohort to the Muslim Interscholastic Tournament, and organized Leukemia Awareness Day. He also hosted ARISE, a successful community project that took place aiming to tackle and address religious stigma and Islamophobia.
Khan also works on the CPS Student Advisory Council and is one of 20 students enacting district-wide policy change. On this council, Khan created a budget workshop to explain the fundamentals of how CPS budgets are calculated and distributed. The council is also working to implement statewide law increasing Local Student Council (LSC) representation and is running a campaign to increase the number of people running for LSC.
Khan commented on his time on the Student Advisory Council when he said, “I joined the CPS Advisory Council because it was an opportunity to do something I never really had done before. Prior to the council, policy making and issues within CPS outside of the Northside bubble were a mystery to me. But joining the council honestly gave me so many valuable experiences that I continue to cherish, from emceeing the CPS Principals Summit, where all 1300 principals discuss the vision of CPS, to presenting a poem on Islamophobia on Chicago's streets, to organizing and leading a workshop simplifying CPS' ridiculously complex budget distribution to other schools.”
He also adds, “[The CPS Student Council] also taught me what exactly it means to have a voice, that having a voice doesn't mean blurting into a mic; it means being involved and being committed in something, and letting your contributions, in tandem with others, make an impact on people. I joined the council to gain new experiences and play a bigger role in the district, and I ended up valuing the roles others play as well--a lesson I really cherish.”
For Khan, his final year at Northside made him look unstoppable. From Jama’ah Club and Student Council, to a Harvard University acceptance, it seemed as though his academic time at Northside could not have ended on a better note. However, there really was no possible better way to recognize his achievements than with a national award from the U.S Department of Education.
Khan has received much praise for his accomplishments inside and outside of the school. ABC7 Chicago gave Khan a shoutout in a piece, highlighting his Presidential Scholar award as well as his plans to go to Harvard.
The U.S Presidential Scholars will be honored for their accomplishments in Washington D.C. from June 24 through June 26.