Jade Abu Bakr '22 has made a significant impact during her eight years at Country Day and has accolades to show for it. She received the 2022 Doris L. McAdams Memorial Scholarship from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, a full merit scholarship from Hampton University, the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy in English and French, the Peter Levinson Award (her junior year), Breakthrough Cincinnati's M. Adam Howard Award, the Charles F. Yeiser Scholar Award, the Dr. Charles F. Clark Character Award, and the Richard O. Schwab Award. But that’s not all. She’s also a two-time Scholastic Art & Writing Silver Key recipient and a Le Grand Concours/National French Exam medal winner.
Needless to say, she is one determined individual.
Before she left our campus, we caught up with her and asked her to reflect on her time at Country Day.
What stands out most to you during your time at Country Day?
I remember being very nervous about coming to Country Day in fifth grade. But, looking back on it, I think that was the perfect time for me to start here. I've had so many opportunities to grow as a leader both in and outside of school here. Some of my favorite memories are school trips, specifically our trip to Cherokee, North Carolina, in seventh grade. I think that was the trip where I was pushed the most out of my comfort zone, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
One of the most rewarding opportunities has been taking on the role of Black Cultural Workshop (BCW) president, which has stretched me the most and allowed me to tap into pieces of myself as a leader that I didn't even know I had. I've also enjoyed being part of our high school cheer team. I had never attended that many games in the past, and to be one of nine girls tasked with bringing the school spirit every day was such a fun experience.
What does it mean to you to be Country Day's nominee for the Simon Lazarus Award?
One of the most significant components of who I am is my dedication to serving our community. Every time I engage in our annual Make A Difference Day or activities outside of school with the Red Cross and Breakthrough Cincinnati, I hope to pay back and thank the village that raised and nurtured me into who I am. Being recognized by the American Jewish Committee, an organization constantly working to help and bring relief to others worldwide, is a true honor. I also know how dedicated our school is to Cincinnati's community and communities abroad, and I hope to continue that legacy for the rest of my life.
What lessons or sentiments will you take with you as you transition into college?
First, I think learning how to balance my academic, social, and professional lives was really important. Second, the academic rigor that Country Day provides will put me in a great position and continue to affect how I manage my studies. Third, collaboration and communication have been fundamental skills I have acquired throughout my academic career. Finally, while living on my own and making more independent moves on campus might be a change, I know that I will be prepared to embrace new lessons because Country Day has taught me how to take on exciting challenges.
What are your plans for next year?
In the fall, I will attend Hampton University and major in journalism/communications. Before attending Hampton in the fall, I'm participating in their pre-college program, which means I'll have enough credits to be considered a sophomore in the fall. In the future, I hope to become an international news reporter and maybe even run my own news station someday.
What advice do you have for younger Country Day students?
You are your biggest motivator. Through the triumphs and the rough patches, it is up to you to say that you will keep going. It is up to you to take those experiences and use them to your advantage to help build your character and your identity. In addition to that, growth is inevitable. I can confidently say that I am nowhere near the same individual I was on the first day of my freshmen year. Then, I would stick to the background. I was quiet and sometimes afraid to use my voice. If you had told me then I'd be giving announcements in Keeler and using my voice as president of BCW and even the Country Day mascot committee, I wouldn't believe you. We have this short period to experience so much change, and I am thankful that I had myself and others around me encouraging me to take leaps that I would not have dreamed of six or seven years ago. Lastly, I would say to continue to experience every emotion that you can, whenever you can, as opposed to holding it in. Live life purposefully.