Three Dearborn Public School Students Awarded Marge Powell Scholarships

The American Association of University Women (AAUW)-Dearborn Marge Powell Annual Leadership Awards were recently presented.

The award includes a certificate for the recipient, a $1,000 scholarship, and the recipient’s name engraved with other recipients from their school on a display plaque for students to see.

The price is not something the student can ask for; rather, a teacher, counselor, or school principal selects someone they believe exemplifies the values ​​of integrity and community service forged in Marge Powell’s legacy.

Each high school in Dearborn is awarded with a winner each year. The awards returned after a year-long hiatus due to COVID-19 last year.

According to the AAUW, Marge Powell had a lot of fun supporting the students selected for the award. She attended ceremonies every year, even as her health began to decline until she was unable to.

Even when she couldn’t attend, she shared words of encouragement with the students through her personal comments forwarded by her friend, Valerie Murphy-Goodrich, past president of the AAUW-D.

Assma Eidy (Photo courtesy of AAUW-D)

Assmaa Eidy

Assmaa Eidy is a senior at Fordson High School. She is president of the Women’s Empowerment Club, the National Honor Society and the CommUNITY Committee. She says she is passionate about social justice and graduated last year from the youth program, Generation of Promise, which focuses on social justice and equity in the Detroit metro area. She was a youth media content creator for Focus: HOPE, of which Generation of Promise is a part. She continued her community outreach by hosting a podcast focused on social change, sharing her experience as a young Arab-American Muslim. Because of this experience, she offered to serve on the board of the Generation of Promise program.

Eidy hasn’t committed to college yet, but she has a goal for her education. Because of her passion for social justice and the leadership roles she has taken on, she plans to pursue public policy and work in the legal system or continue in community development. She indicates that she has participated in many programs with the University of Michigan, such as Dreams2Reality, Summer Youth Dialogues, and sisterhood mentorship with their empowered Arab sorority. Assmaa says, “All of these experiences have reinforced my passion for higher education and given me insight into what I would like to pursue over the next four years and beyond. »

His parents, Principal Heyam Acodray, Guidance Department Chair Jacquleline Kostovski and several other staff attended Eidy’s award presentation at Fordson High School.

In addition to receiving her award from AAUW-D on March 23, Assmaa also learned that day that she was a recipient of the Brehm Scholarship, a full commute to attend the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.

Carole Wells (left) and Raya Jaber. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-D)

Raya Jaber

Raya Jaber of Dearborn High School received the Marge Powell Leadership Award on March 25, 2022. She received the scholarship in part due to her efforts as president of the student council executive council. His participation in several other high school clubs proved worthy of his values ​​upholding to receive the Powell Award.

As the student council’s executive president, Jaber learned leadership skills that she says “enhanced her ability to collaborate with other students.” More intentionally, she recognized the importance of working as a team with an eye on positive and inclusive values ​​to ensure that all benefited from the plans and activities the council implemented during this time. She will be attending the University of Michigan in the fall where she plans to continue her efforts to develop her collaboration and leadership skills. She plans to major in biology and hopes to become a pediatrician.

“I am honored to be recognized by AAUW-D, especially since the organization stands for equality and justice for all,” Jaber said.

Attending the ceremony were Jaber’s mother; and advisers Janice Fawaz, Micheal Rashid and Kassim Darwish. Also in attendance were AAUW-D members Rosa Scaramucci, Executive Vice President; Nancy Rahrig, secretary; Carole Wells, Treasurer; and Karen Monroe, Media Relations.

“Raya Jaber truly deserves the Marge Powell Award,” Fawaz said. “She embodies core values ​​and day-to-day leadership. Academically, she is at the top of her class. Raya also gives back to her community in many ways.

Angela Matta

Angela Matta (left) and Judy Buck. (Photo courtesy of AAUW-D)

Edsel Ford High School named Angela Matta as the recipient of the Marge Powell Leadership Award. Attending his ceremony on April 4 were Matta; Rima Hassan, director; and Gail Welmers and Ibrahim Baydoun from the consultancy department. AAUW-D members included Judy Buck, president; Rosa Scaramucci, Nancy Rahrig and Karen Monroe.

Matta plans to attend the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She found many ways to use her love of programming as she became the lead programmer for the FIRST Robotics team, the director of the software committee for STEM TALK, and the public relations chair of the Girls Who Code Club. As a freshman, Matta joined the FIRST Robotics team as a self-taught programmer, soon training new members in all aspects of robotics. Through her efforts, she received the Gracious Professionalism Award for her high quality work and dedication to the value of others and their importance in the community.

As the first-place winner of the Michigan Council of Women in Technology’s web design competition, she secured a Mercedes-Benz internship. Because it was canceled due to the pandemic, she became involved with STEM TALKS, a student-run nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to STEM for marginalized students.

In addition to programming, Matta enjoys books and volunteers at the Henry Ford Centennial Library. She became a reading partner for Salina’s literacy program, helping middle and high school students improve their reading skills.

Matta has been offered preferred admissions to the University of M-Ann Arbor, pending confirmation of acceptance into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Whatever university she attends, she will earn a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. One of his professional interests is to research the susceptibility of teenagers to corporate marketing and recruiting with the intention of publishing an article on the subject. His career goals include becoming a robotics engineer, data scientist, or machine learning engineer. Eventually, she hopes to start a non-profit business to expand access to STEM to low-income communities.

“I am honored to receive this award dedicated to Marjorie Powell, a pillar of the community who inspires me and many others,” Matta said. “Leadership is time sensitive, and as the world changes, leaders keep pace.”

Powell inspired many

Powell passed away on January 9, 2021. She left behind an inspiration for much of her life as a community leader and advocate for women, diversity and inclusion.

Powell found many ways to influence and spread his values ​​in the community. She served on the Dearborn City Council, chairing the council for two terms.

She became one of the first female Rotarians and was active in this organization for 33 years. She was a member of the Philanthropic Education Organization, which provides educational opportunities for women through grants and loans. Powell maintained his membership for 30 years and served as an officer during that time.

She has also served on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan-Dearborn and as a board member of the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services. She was recognized as a Woman of Distinction in 2011 and served as a member and chair of the Public Service Committee. And, of course, she was a member of the AAUW-Dearborn, holding various positions, until the end of her life.

It is for all of the above reasons that AAUW-Dearborn members Joan Arrick and the late Betty Martin launched the Marge Powell Leadership Award to support and recognize high school students who have demonstrated exemplary values, integrity and community service.

Normally, a ceremony is held for all to receive the awards together, however, they were given individually in each high school due to COVID-19.

Awarding scholarships to Dearborn students aligns with AAUW’s national mission: to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. The mission is based on the value of reducing barriers and biases that stand in the way of gender equity. Efforts are being made to train women to negotiate wages and benefits and to exercise leadership roles. Advocacy also aims to ensure that laws and policies at the federal, state and local levels ensure equity and end discrimination.

“It is inspiring to see our three Marge Powell Leadership Fellows shine and be recognized for the leadership qualities they demonstrate,” said Judy Buck, Dearborn Branch President. “Although we awarded scholarships to three young women this year, AAUW-D scholarship recognition is open to all Dearborn public school students, regardless of gender or bias.”

Funds for the Marge Powell Leadership Award are generated through the annual Used Book Sales, where thousands of books are available at reasonable prices in many different categories and also include a selection of collectibles and rare books.

In addition to funding scholarships, book sales donate second-hand books in times of need. Many books were donated to the Inkster Library, after it succumbed to a fire. A number of books were donated to the children’s library, including new school book sets for the special needs children’s program. Nancy Rahrig, retired children’s librarian for Dearborn Libraries, assisted in the donation process, along with Rola Gates Bazzi, special education coordinator for Dearborn Public Schools and Karen Henry, children’s librarian at the library. Inkster.

Public Policy Liaison Valerie Murphy Goodrich received 35 cases of books from an elementary school that closed. They will be offered at the used book sale in September and are categorized as K-6 readers, with a few young adults mixed in.

Used book donations can be made by arrangement by contacting

Sarah Lebrell, Co-Chair of the Used Book Committee, said, “It’s gratifying to have all these wonderful used books and find a good home for them. »

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