AUGUSTA — Four seniors from Cony High School have each received a $1,000 Kennebec New Mainer Scholarship. They are Ruqayah Alzirej, Yasmeen Al Hoshan, Juan Jose Hernandez and Fatima Al-Badri, all of Augusta.

Sponsored by the Capital Area New Mainers Project and Hoang Realty, the scholarship helps immigrant and refugee students who graduate from a Kennebec County public high school pay for expenses associated with pursuing higher education.

Ruqayah Alzirej Submitted photo

Alzirej left Iraq with her family and arrived in the U.S. in 2014. She has excelled at Cony and has made a strong impression on teachers and mentors. “Ruqayah is a mature and motivated honors student,” writes Kristin McLaren, the director of academic success at UMA, according to a news release from Chris Myers Asch with the Capital Area New Mainers Project. “Her strong sense of duty, curiosity, intelligence, and motivation position her to make a strong contribution to our community and society.”

“I am so thankful to live here in the land of opportunities,” Alzirej writes. “I am honored that I have the chance to prove I am a strong immigrant woman who can make a difference and change the trajectory for my family by attending college.” She plans to study dental hygiene at UMA.

Al Hoshan is a native of Syria who arrived in Augusta in 2019. Al Hoshan writes that her experiences as a refugee “have instilled in me a profound sense of empathy and a burning desire to alleviate the suffering of others. I am acutely aware of the critical role that healthcare professionals play in saving lives and restoring hope, especially in times of crisis.” She plans to become a nurse anesthetist.

A native of Iraq, Al-Badri arrived in Augusta in 2014. She sees higher education as a great opportunity. College “gives immigrant students access to valuable networks, which can be a good resource for adapting and finding opportunities,” Fatima writes. She is creative and likes design, and will attend UMA to study architecture.

Hernandez arrived from Colombia in 2022 hoping to get a good education. He played volleyball at Cony and earned the Maine Seal of Biliteracy. Hernandez hopes to become a business owner and plans to study finance at the Hult International Business School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The scholarship was launched in 2019 by CANMP and Hoa Hoang, a refugee from Vietnam who arrived in the United States in 1975. Hoang graduated from Cony High School and founded Hoang Realty.

Check out other upcoming area events!

Comments are not available on this story.