Warkaa Abdulhussain is a graduate of Rauner College Prep, Class of 2014. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s in Sociology with a minor in Social Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She transferred to UIC from Knox College, where she spent a year. She decided UIC was a better fit and is thriving as a proud member of Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. as well as being an America Needs You 2015 Fellow, and a participant in the Safe Humane Chicago Program, which creates safe and humane communities by inspiring positive relationships between people and animals. 

Warkaa hopes to become a teacher in order to diversify the human capital in urban public schools. She is inspired to do so after working with MIKVA Challenge and Chicago Public Schools College and Career Success Office as a student voice. She hopes to provide inspiration to other women of color, the same way she was inspired at Rauner College Prep by the school leaders who were women of color when she was a student. 

Warkaa is a first-generation college student and a refugee. When she arrived in the United States, college seemed like an unattainable dream. She didn’t believe people who looked like her went to college in the United States. After spending some time at Rauner, she learned that it was possible and not only was it possible, but it was an expectation. She remembers her Collegiate Seminar course during senior year as being particularly important to her success because she got to work with counselors who really knew her and were able to make the whole process more accessible for a first-generation student.

Warkaa realizes now that some of the experiences she had at Rauner really prepared her for success in college. She remembers working with other students to start a poetry club and those leadership skills that she developed have helped her emerge as a leader in her college community.  Warkaa also has Rauner to thank for pushing her to spend her summers either employed or participating in an extracurricular program. She was able to connect with and apply to MIKVA Challenge during the summer of her sophomore year as a result the summer experience fair held at Rauner. She ended up interning with MIKVA every summer from 2012 through 2016. Before coming to Rauner, she said the word internship wasn’t even in her vocabulary! 

She also feels that the small, close-knit family of teachers, staff, and students at Rauner really allowed her to get to know others and allow others to really get to know her. It was at Rauner where she was able to begin to explore her identity and develop a strong sense of self. She felt welcomed and safe there and felt that the consistency of the student code of conduct helped hold her accountable for all her decisions, both good and bad. She remembers in her native Jordan, that there weren’t really any rules at all in the classroom. It was an adjustment, but she has learned to hold herself accountable to a high standard because she knows exactly what she is capable of. 

Warkaa remembers watching the infamous Rocky video on one of her first days at Rauner and wondering what all the intensity was about. She felt anxious and received her first demerits for not having her buttons properly done on her polo. She looks back now and understands that the intensity was because the staff at Rauner, like all the staff at Noble, take their mission very seriously. They are there to prepare students with the scholarship, discipline, and honor to succeed in college and live exemplary lives. Warkaa is just one example of this mission embodied. She is a proud woman of color, she is a leader amongst her peers and she is noble.