Sakeenah Shabazz-$10,000 Richer and Lincoln’s Salutatorian
By Lioneil Lumido
akeenah Shabazz, a senior at Lincoln High School, is now $10,000 richer. How? Through the Nordstrom Scholarship. People describe Sakeenah as motivated, intelligent, and passionate. She is involved in various on-and-off campus organizations such as MEChaA(Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/Chicana Aztlan), ARSO (African Revolutionary Student Organization), Aaron Price Fellows and Cardinals Interact, to which she serves as an intern. In addition, she is the salutatorian of her class with a cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.3.
Mr. Wiseman, the Vice Principal of Science and Engineering, said, “Sakeenah is a highly motivated and intelligent student. She represents the ideal Lincoln student because she takes advantage of every opportunity given to her by working tirelessly and striving for the best.”
But really, who is Sakeenah Shabazz?
Growing up, Shabazz had a very interactive life. At one time she lived with her siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and mom all in the same house. “Death, homelessness, and violence have really shaped who I am,” said Shabazz. But instead of seeing these setbacks as misfortunes, she used them to become dedicated to school and work. Today she describes herself as a busy-body. According to her, “I always have to be doing something whether it’s homework, having a good time with my friends, or just walking aimlessly until I get tired. I always have to be doing something productive.” Aside from these activities, she also enjoys reading, watching webisodes of her favorite shows, or traveling. She really focuses on education, as it is the key to achieving both long-term and short-term goals.
For now, Shabazz aims to keep her grades up, finish school, and continue to help the organizations she’s involved in to establish the new leaders when she’s gone. Eventually, she plans to go to medical school and become a midwife or an ob-gyn because babies symbolize life and give another chance to make the world better. Being family-oriented, she would also like to have a family of her own someday.
For her, adults, especially her parents and teachers, are her role models. One teacher, Mr. Ochoa, stands out in particular. “He pushes me to question and ponder my role as a student, person, and member of my community,” said Shabazz.
Mr. Ochoa, who is Shabazz’s AVID teacher, describes her as a leader, and cites her involvement to help her peers and community. One example was the Education Not Arms Coalition, which fought for the banning of guns at San Diego Unified School District schools. He believes that she has impacted everyone in Lincoln High either directly or indirectly, whether it is from her activism for better policies or mediating issues among students.
This year, she was also named as one of the recipients of the $10,000 Nordstrom Scholarship. To enter, she had to talk about herself in a personal statement, submit a transcript, state her community and school involvements, and relate to a significant event in history. She chose the integration of Little Rock High School in relation to the reopening of Lincoln. Although Lincoln students were not physically threatened and no National Guard escort was required, they still received threats and criticisms, as well as people busing their children to affluent schools instead of letting them go to Lincoln.
Being the role model that she is, she advises fellow students to stay focused on their goals, always work hard, but most importantly help their peers, because as she puts it, “If they win, you win. It can be a win-win situation.”