Ababaker Ahmed (l. to r.); Nelcia Skobelsky, director of the Pre-Medical Institute and NASA STEM program at Hillcrest; and Hamdan Jawad.
BY BOB HARRIS AND JAMES FARRELL
Hillcrest High School student Ababaker Ahmed is ranked at the top of the school’s 772 seniors. A member of the school’s Pre-Med Small Learning Community, his academic accomplishments include being a Gold Medal Physics student and a member of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. He is hoping to attend Columbia University and is pursuing a career in medicine. To accomplish that goal, he is currently a semi-finalist in the New York Times’ scholarship contest.
His philosophy is simple. He follows the advice of Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
To that end, Ahmed is also a leader in community and school service. Over the past three years, he has volunteered in all capacities: he has tutored students in eight different academic subjects, volunteered as a laboratory technician in the science department, helped teachers grade papers and decorate classrooms, raised money for Toys for Tots, collected toys for the needy during holidays, volunteered in the wards at North Shore LIJ Hospital and worked at food drives.
Right behind Ahmed is class salutatorian Hamdan Jawad, who is also a member of the Pre-Med Small Learning Community. He has excelled in Advanced Placement (AP) classes during his time at Hillcrest High School, getting the top grade of a 5 on the AP U.S. History and English tests, while also taking three other AP classes. He studied software engineering at Hillcrest for three years and was accepted into the Electrical Engineering Program at SUNY Stony Brook University, where he received the Presidential Scholarship and plans to join the Micro Electronic Track.
Also service-oriented, Jawad is a member of the Scholars on Point Club, which helps junior students cope with high school. He is a member of the Muslim Students Association, has tutored students and helped his history teachers grade papers and decorate rooms.
Jawad entered the NFTE Startup Tech summer program—which helps low-income students become entrepreneurs—and formed a team, becoming president of a startup known as Unagen.
His philosophy is: “The best way to be happy is to never expect anything.”