April 29, 2024

Graduate profile: Zahraa Alrafish

Zahraa Alrafish in regalia

With Commencement this week, Schoolcraft College is showcasing the stories of several students walking during the upcoming ceremony. The first student is Zahraa Alrafish, who is graduating with an Associate in General Studies Degree.

Zahraa Alrafish is ready to begin helping the community one person at a time.

She found the world needs more people that want to help with the problems in her community. That’s why she plans to head to Wayne State University after she graduates from Schoolcraft College to pursue degrees in social work.

“We need more people that care, we need more people that have heart,” Alrafish said. “That is who I am and that is why I chose social work. I want to wake up every day and know I’m helping out at least one individual in this world.”

A graduate of Western International High School in Detroit, Alrafish is the first woman in her family to attend college. That has kept her pushing forward, knowing how much support she had received to make the leap to college.

“I think the thing is with my family, they always wanted the best for me and they always pushed for me to get an education and to pursue a higher degree,” she said. “My motivation was to make them proud because of how much they sacrificed for me.”

Alrafish comes from a family of immigrants: while she was born here in the United States, her family immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq. After she was born, her family did spend some time back in Iraq, allowing her to see a different world than the one she was born in. It’s an experience, she said, she that was worthwhile to spend time in her family’s native home.

She arrived at Schoolcraft College as a Detroit Promise scholar. After hearing good things from her fellow high school graduates, she decided to head to Schoolcraft after finding how simple it was to enroll and get set up to attend classes.

While here, she got involved with campus, joining the Film Club and even launching her own nonprofit: Arab Women United, which aims to cultivate safe environments for women and strives to bring equal opportunity and stand against injustice.

Alrafish credits a lot of the support she received at Schoolcraft to Catreese Bell-Qualls, the College’s Equity and Engagement Program Coordinator.

“She really supported me, she made sure I had all of the resources that I needed,” she said. “She always pushed me to do more and she always pushed me to do the best that I can while always being kind to others.”

Her experience has been one to remember at Schoolcraft College. Alrafish said it’s important to take it all in, because your time at Schoolcraft happens only once.

“Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and make the most out of every class, make the most out of every assignment,” Alrafish said. “I believe that Schoolcraft is such an amazing community of people here who will support you. You just need to find the right crowd and really involve yourself in the right room of people.”

Schoolcraft College’s 59th Annual Commencement Ceremony takes place at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the TrinityElite Sports Center on the Livonia campus. Those who cannot attend in-person are invited to watch the livestream of the Ceremony on the event web page.

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