Home Morocco Moroccan-American 16-Year-Old Makes US Academic History with Valedictorian Award

Moroccan-American 16-Year-Old Makes US Academic History with Valedictorian Award

Reyhan Lalaoui

Rabat – Moroccan-American Reyhan Lalaoui is the youngest university student in the United States to have been awarded the Hudson University’s (HCCC) Valedictorian Academic Award for best performing students.

Reyhan made the headlines of several newspapers, including The Jersey Journal which qualified the 16-years-old as a “genius.” The young valedictorian’s academic tenure can only be described as impressive.

Homeschooled by her mother since the fifth grade, Lalaoui managed to skip from the 5th to 12th grade an enroll at HCCC at just 14 years old.

The first of her family to earn a college degree, Lalaoui says she owes everything to her Moroccan-born father and her mother who helped her through what has been an unorthodox academic journey.

“I am lucky to have family who supports me and shows me how to take the initiative and work hard to achieve my goals and build lasting relationships,” she said.

“She is one of the hardest working young people that I know,” said Melinda Vickerman, Lalaoui’s mother—who was her homeschool teacher—and currently homeschools her 11-year-old brother as well.

An aspiring writer and filmmaker, the English major wants to create works about “city kids and trying to tackle the issues that we have to face, issues like addiction, violence, mental health issues.” The young graduate plans to complete her bachelor’s degree at New York University or Saint Peter’s University.

“All of us at the college are extremely proud of Reyhan and what she has accomplished,” HCCC President Glen Gabert said in a statement. “She is a brilliant example of the determination and diligence of Hudson County Community College’s students, and we congratulate her and the entire Class of 2017 on their achievements.”


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