Arab Americans usually study close to home

7 Comments 04 June 2013

By Fatima Charara
Unis Middle School

Due to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the Arab-American population has undergone much scrutiny because of the horrible stereotypes that have become common in today’s society. That’s why Unis Middle School science teacher Shane Shockey and many others want Arab-American students to work their hardest to be admitted into a college, university or trade school located out-of-state. Supporters of this idea argue that Arab-American students who train out-of-state can help change attitudes towards their community.

But it’s still rare for Dearborn’s Arab-American students to go to college outside of Michigan, according to Fordson high school counselor Melinda Dakhlallah. Last year, 16% of Fordson high school students received scholarships, Dakhlallah said. Of those, 0.01% of the scholarships received were for colleges out of state.

Shockey and others view this lack of interest in schooling far from home as a missed opportunity.

“When I go out of town and tell people that I’m from the Dearborn Public Schools District, unfortunately their reactions are pretty ignorant,” Shockey said. Some people that have total ignorance towards Arab Americans and have called us “towel heads,” Shockey explained.

Shane Shockey

Shane Shockey

He believes that not only does every student have the opportunity to change the world, but specifically Arab-American students have a greater opportunity to make their mark on the world because of the harder obstacle they need to overcome. Along with earning degrees that could help make a difference, Arab-American students have a chance to show the true, respected, honorable colors of the Arab-American culture.

There are many scholarships that currently help students who are unable to afford the high costs of living out of state. These scholarships help to ensure that all students are given the same opportunities to advance their lives towards their future goals.

This county was founded on people moving here in hopes of a better future. Shockey believes that his Arab-American students can have fun and do good by building on that tradition. “It is very interesting to travel and tell people about where we live. It’s also a great experience and it is very eye-opening,” he said.

Shockey also believes that if his Arab-American students travel outside of their comfort zone, they will find that their experiences in the Dearborn school district is similar in many ways to the experience of students in other districts that don’t have many Arab Americans. “I don’t think we’re very different,” Shockey said. “We all have different requirements and every school district has things that could be improved.”

Shockey added that he’s happy working in the Dearborn district. “I’ve made Dearborn my home and I would not want to work at any other school district — except for maybe a tropical location.”

Hamzeh Hider is one Dearborn Arab American who agrees with Shockey’s advice. Hider is now studying at the University of Toledo, Ohio. “I was dedicated in my schooling and I applied my full potential to be accepted into a school where I could reach my goals,” Hider said. Hider’s family was OK with him leaving home. “They were very excited about me being accepted into a very well known university and they were very supportive,” he said.


Hamzeh Hider

Hider believes that when Dearborn’s Arab Americans go to colleges outside of Michigan, that’s a great way to show people what our community and Arab-Americans are really all about. “I did the best I could to represent my family and my culture to the highest of my abilities,” he said. Hider advises younger students to go to a college and receive their educational degree at the best school that will admit them. “My advice to all students of every nationality is that they should work hard and dedicate themselves to pursuing their life-long goals,” he said.

Any student, of any nationality, has the power to change people’s perspectives and pursue their goals by just working their hardest to get scholarships to any colleges out of their state, or even just out of their community.

Your Comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Deena Furlow says:

    Nice article, Fatima! My two cents…be willing to consider those colleges or opportunities that could be out of your “comfort zone”. There are many factors that could influence one’s choice in a particular college (cost, location, reputation of the program you are interested in, scholarship money/financial aid available or offered,etc) but students should also consider the opportunities that could open up for them during their college years or upon completion of a degree, not to mention the life experiences that can be learned by “going away” for college.

  2. Ali Elzaghir says:

    This article is true. If it was me that would go to a advanced school in a other state I would probably stay because I would miss my family.

  3. If i went to an advanced shool i would stay at home because i likemy family and they like me to.

  4. Ali Makki 7th hour says:

    You are right it doesent matter about your natioality, never judge a book from its cover, any person from any country could get scholasrships if you try, and always try hard so people could s=change their minds about your nationality because if somebody saw a bad thing from you they are gonna hold it on your religion but if you do something good people are gonna say like this guy is a muslim and hes doing the right thing than they’ll change their minds about him and hius religion.

  5. \hussein hacham 7th hour says:

    that is true there is so maney out of state scholor ships like mr.shocky said

  6. heba harajli 5th hour says:

    This is so true. But if it were to happen to me, I would stay home with my family.

  7. April Kincaid says:

    Mr Shockey and Mr Hider both gave inspirational words to all high school graduates. I appreciated their candid advice to Arab Americans and how going away to college gives students the opportunity to show others positive images. Many people believe the images presented by the media are an accurate depiction of Arabs. Great story Fatima!

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Unis Middle School

Unis School serves grades K-8 in the Dearborn Public School District. The school principal is Heyam Alcodray. These are its beliefs about education:

  • A student's highest potential includes improvements academically, artistically, emotionally and socially.
  • Student achievement requires a cooperative effort among parents, teachers and the community to provide encouragement and reinforce core values.
  • Good instruction is assessment-driven, outcomes-based, active, and engaging.
  • Effective instruction touches the world of each student providing for different learning styles and needs.
  • Education is a life-long process that prepares students to be successful, contributing citizens in a changing world.

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