A Pickerington High School Central senior recently was awarded a national scholarship given to African-American students who show high-level academic promise.
Central's Aisha Sharif definitely is ending her high school career on a high note.
For the third time, she and her classmates advanced to state in the Ohio High School Mock Trial competition, she's landed a summer internship at the Columbus law office of Kephart Fischer LLC and she was accepted to eight colleges.
This past fall Sharif was crowned Central's homecoming queen.
As if that wasn't enough, the news got even better earlier this month, when Sharif was one of 800 students from throughout the U.S. to be selected as a National Achievement Scholarship winner.
The National Achievement Scholarship program is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corp.
It is a privately funded academic competition initiated in 1964 to recognize academically promising black students throughout the nation and to provide scholarships to the most outstanding program participants.
As a winner, Sharif was selected from an original pool of 160,000 applicants to receive a $2,500 college scholarship.
"I'm ecstatic," Sharif said. "I never expected it."
Sharif plans to apply the scholarship to offset tuition at either Columbia University in New York City, or Stanford University near Palo Alto, Calif.
Once she determines which coast will serve as the backdrop for her collegiate career, she plans to study either political science or international studies.
"I plan on attending law school after that," she said.
The 18-year-old is the daughter of Mahbubur and Faith Sharif, and AP government is among her favorite classes.
At Central, she has run cross country, performed in the chorale, is president of the Key Club, student council vice president and is involved in the mock trial program.
She also serves on both Central's Principal's Academic Advisory and the Pickerington Local School District Superintendent Advisory committees.
Sharif said she was "inspired" to seek a National Achievement Scholarship after reading about past winners from her school in local newspapers.
She also was proud to win, she said, because the scholarship honors her mother's heritage.
"It was cool to embrace her side of the culture," she said.
As she nears high school graduation, Sharif said she's busy preparing for advanced-placement tests and hopes to spend time with friends and family this summer, before ultimately traveling far from home to further her education.
"I'm so excited to be able to go to either Stanford or Columbia, but it's definitely sad to leave people behind," she said.
"Still, I have no regrets about high school. I've had one of the best senior years I could imagine.
"I just want to say how thankful I am to my family, who's always been there for me, and the wonderful teachers and administrators we have in Pickerington. They helped me get where I am."