Jerusalem came to the United States as a young girl with her mother and siblings in 2011 from Ethiopia. Her father had arrived five years earlier and worked several jobs to prepare for his family to join him in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
“I began school as soon as I arrived,” wrote Jerusalem. “Upon starting school, I was anxious, scared, and perplexed. The words that came out of people’s mouth were puzzling. I did not conversate when people talked and I became shy as well as frightened because of language barrier.”
Jerusalem Tadesse not only overcame the language barrier coming to the United States, she has excelled academically and socially. She credits the support of her church family at Jehovah Lutheran Church in Saint Paul as an integral part of her success.
Jerusalem is also the first of four 2017 Minnesota South District (MNS) Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF) $1,000 Scholarship winners. Jerusalem will graduate from Humboldt High School, Saint Paul this spring and pursue a college education.
In her scholarship essay, Jerusalem wrote,
“When I went to church on Sundays, I slowly learned to open up. The Bible study I was part of was mostly taught in English and that helped me get comfortable with the language. I am glad and appreciative to have been included at Jehovah Lutheran Church’s Bible study. I felt like I was myself because everyone there was friendly and welcoming. Overall, church helped me gain confidence and find myself.
Moreover, I used to sing and read the bible to the congregation with youth group back in Ethiopia. When I moved to the United States, I was afraid that I was not going to have a close bond with God as I used to however, the fear did not come true. The Bible study at my church kept me closer and faithful to God. Furthermore, if it is God’s plan, I will be the 1st generation in my family to attend college.”
In her letter of recommendation for Jerusalem, Humboldt H.S. Algebra Teacher Rachel Baker wrote about Jerusalem’s academic success despite a rigorous course load and the challenge of English as a second language. Jerusalem also speaks Amaharic and Hadigna. Baker also wrote,
“Jerusalem is an excellent candidate to receive this scholarship. She works hard every day in academics and various extracurricular activities. Most importantly, she is one of the kindest, understanding, patient, and helpful students I have ever had. Jerusalem has blossomed into a natural helper, collaborator, and lover of learning. She genuinely cares for, and thinks about, others more than herself.
Jerusalem has taken advanced and college level classes all throughout high school. Jerusalem has participated and volunteered in a variety of programs at school and in the community.
The most impressive thing I saw her do was present with a team of eight students in front of an audience of over 100 people at the University of Minnesota about a clinic they designed. Their team won first place!
After college, I see Jerusalem returning to the community and actively engaging as a strong role model. Jerusalem comes from a school and community that is in high need of positive and experienced young leaders. With the right educational experiences, she has the potential to impact many. She possesses a unique blend of integrity, perseverance, work ethic, and rigorous academic achievement.”
LCEF is blessed to support faith-filled students such as Jerusalem with these annual scholarship awards. There are several remaining upper Midwest districts’ LCEF scholarships yet to be announced this spring. Follow our newsfeed and Facebook page for the most recent award announcements.
For more information on how you can partner with the ministry of church extension, visit lcef.org or call 800-843-5233.