Lejla Heric-Safadi named 2019 President’s Distinguished Graduate Award recipient

May 30, 2019

Lejla Heric-Safadi is someone who views challenges as opportunities. A Bosnian immigrant, she moved to the U.S. in 2013 and spent the first few years adjusting to her new life. Desiring to improve her economic condition, she enrolled at CCBC despite feeling uneasy about her English skills.

After overcoming a number of obstacles and succeeding through perseverance and hard work, Lejla Heric-Safadi has been named CCBC’s 2019 President’s Distinguished Graduate Award recipient. This award is given annually to a student who has shown exemplary leadership and a commitment to help others.

Heric-Safadi will be presented with the award at CCBC’s 2019 Commencement ceremony on June 1 at CCBC Essex. With approximately 900 graduates expected to be in attendance, Heric-Safadi will deliver the 2019 commencement address.

Facing challenges
After enrolling at CCBC, Heric-Safadi became fearful and almost dropped her first class. She said a voice in her head kept saying, “you aren’t good enough.” But, she didn’t give into the fear. She stood strong, completed the class and gained the confidence she needed. It was then she decided that she would not only complete, but thrive.

Heric-Safadi began to challenge herself academically as well as socially, getting involved and taking advantage of all the opportunities that CCBC offered. She joined the Honors program, served in leadership positions for Phi Theta Kappa, became a First Year Experience Mentor as well as a Mellon Scholar. And, she did all this while raising two children as a single mother, holding down a job and consistently being on the Dean’s List.

Life at CCBC for Heric-Safadi was not without setbacks. She suffered a personal tragedy which would have gotten most people off track, but she didn’t see quitting as an option. The promise of “hope” was the one thing that she held on to and it was enough to get her through each challenge and semester.

Moving forward
Following graduation, Lejla plans to attend the Honors University at UMBC where she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Public Health. She hopes to continue her education and receive a master’s degree with the hope of one day returning to the community college to teach and mentor students.

“I feel a responsibility to give back,” said Heric-Safadi. “I want to inspire future generations of students the way I was inspired during my time at CCBC.”