RIT welcomes and celebrates incoming Rochester City Scholars

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Some incoming RIT students are getting a very special scholarship before starting their first semester.

Zaid Abdulsalam was part of Rochester Prep High Schools graduating class in 2018, went through the Destler-Johnson program, and just graduated in May, now his younger sister Afnaan is going through the program.

“I went to middle school and high school at Rochester Prep,” Zaid said. “That’s kind of where the journey started.”

Zaid grew up in Rochester and said the college has always been a dream for him and his family.

“The cost of college and all that was a bit challenging,” Zaid said. “So me and my mom and my dad, we kind of had to work together and just figuring it out and prepping for it and enduring that whole thing.”

He wanted to find a way to succeed and going to RIT through the Destler Johnson RCS program was his opportunity to do just that.

“As things kind of went on, it seemed like to be the right fit or RIT, in general, was just like a right fit for me,” Zaid said. “Then watching Rochester City Scholars was definitely about that motivating and support system that I needed.”

After graduating with a degree in medical illustration, Zaid’s sister Afnann is up next.

“I have a guide right there with me and I always call him,” Afnann said. “He always knows what to do, where to go. He was the guide for me on my first day.”

Afnann is going through the program, wanting to pursue biology and says her brothers’ success gave her the mindset that she too could make a name for herself.

“The easiest way to help my family out because my brother got a full ride. So I got a full ride. So my family doesn’t have to worry about, like, the cost of college or anything like that.”

The scholarship supports generations of Rochester families and empowers others to take a chance on their goals.

“I’ve learned from him not to overthink things, just to keep working hard on what needs to be done, focus on the work,” Afnann said. “Once you get through it, you don’t have to worry about it.”

The total count of city scholars this year is now up to 22.

They come from eight public and charter schools in Rochester.

These students will major in programs ranging from computer science, to physics to international business.