Insightful, passionate, and caring are the words that teachers use to describe Assim Shammo. During his childhood in Iraq and Syria, Assim and his family experienced religious and political persecution as members of the Ezidi faith. After immigrating to the United States in 2010, Assim embraced living in a country where peace and freedom existed and developed a passion for helping other Ezidi affected by political and religious attacks. In 2014, when 200,000 Ezidis were forced to flee their homes for the Syria/ Iraq border, Assim felt he needed to contribute to their rescue. Working with the American Ezidi Center, he and his family lobbied Congress and the National Security Advisor’s Office to provide assistance for the people who were stranded on Mount Sinjar. With knowledge of the terrain of Northern Iraq, Assim helped identify possible drop spots for food and medical supplies. As a winner of the Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County in March 2015, Assim embodies the true meaning of service and good citizenship. We know that Assim will use this scholarship to educate himself so he can chart his career in dedication to ensuring tolerance and peace.
When ELIZABETH SCARCELLA makes a commitment to serve, she does so whole-heartedly. Five years ago, she started as a religious education teacher for pre-schoolers at Saint John Neumann Church because her mother asked for her help. But even after her mother passed away, she chose to remain in her role and take on additional responsibilities. Last year, she became the head teacher in charge of lesson planning and securing teaching materials. At times she has sacrificed her social life so she could be up early on Sunday morning; but she wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves working with children. She also shows this type of dedication in the Mountain View community. Elizabeth’s chemistry teacher observed her consistently working with a fellow student on the math calculations needed to get through a challenging unit of study. In her other classes, she also helps foster a cooperative atmosphere of team work. Elizabeth has already been admitted and taken her entrance exams for Northern Virginia Community College. She will begin her studies this fall and we know she will continue to contribute her talents and dedication there. She truly embodies the spirit of a good citizen of her school and her community, making her an outstanding recipient for this scholarship.