NEDERLAND — Rima Shaaban and her family moved to Nederland from Syria 10 years ago.
Shaaban is from Deir ez-Zor, which is the largest city in Eastern Syria and the seventh largest in the country.
“I was really young when I came here, so the transition was pretty easy,” she said.
Shabaan will graduate in the spring and will attend Lamar next fall on the Presidential Scholarship to pursue her dream of being a dentist.
Shaaban was awarded the prestigious scholarship earlier this month when Lamar President Jaime Taylor showed up at Nederland High School.
The senior plans to attend Lamar for her undergraduate program and apply to the University of Texas for her post-grad.
She shadowed a dentist, which solidified her love for the profession, she said.
The senior is also involved in a long list of extracurricular activities, while maintaining her salutatorian status with a 4.0 GPA.
For four years, Shaaban has been on the school’s tennis team, Key Club, Renaissance Club, Islamic Society of Triplex. She has been a district team member for UIL Ready Writing and the UIL Science Team. This year, Shaaban was a Terrific Nederland Teen, National Honor Society and National Spanish Honors Society.
“I always try to leave time to get everything done,” she said. “I don’t try to procrastinate at all. I allot certain time for everything. It try to get all of my school work done at school, so I can do all of my clubs… I try to keep myself busy.”
During her rare down time, she said she likes to hang out with friends and family.
“I also like to bike and crochet,” she said.
Shaaban’s History teacher Hunter Fabion, who is also the Key Club advisor, said Shaaban comes from a family that values education and service.
“When she graduates, Rima will leave incredibly large shoes to fill,” Fabion said of Shaaban. “She has made a lasting impact on our community. We will dearly miss Rima Shaaban.”
The senior has regularly read to preschool children at the Marion & Ed Hughes public Library as part of the weekly Reading Program.
Shaaban also worked participated in the Texas Adopt a beach Program.
“Not many people her age are willing to wake up a 6 a.m. and work fives hours picking up trash off Texas beaches on a Saturday morning,” Fabion said.