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Six for six: UCS valedictorian has perfect record when it comes to Ivy League applications
Six for six: UCS valedictorian has perfect record when it comes to Ivy League applications
Posted on 06/11/2019
Sam with Harvard bannerUtica Community Schools 2019 graduate Sam Saba is perfect when it comes to his post-secondary education choices. 

Saba, who graduated earlier this month from the Utica Academy for International Studies, is leaving UCS with acceptance to six Ivy League universities where he applied and more than $2.2 million in scholarship offers. 

“I try not to seek affirmation from the college application process, but it definitely has been a boost in morale and a testament to the opportunities that are open to all types of students in UCS, regardless of their background,” he said. 

The six Ivy League schools where Saba has been accepted include Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, Brown University, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania. He will be enrolling at Harvard University on a full ride in the fall. 

 “Sam’s story reflects what our staff and community value and want for all of our students,” superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Through hard work, the relationships he formed with his teachers and administrators, and the opportunities available in UCS, he had every door opened to him to pursue his dreams for the future.”

Saba is a life-long UCS student, attending Graebner Elementary, Bemis Junior High School and the UAIS. He is graduating this year as a Valedictorian and a candidate for both the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the UCS Seal of Global Language.  He also has served as the Key Club governor for the State of Michigan, a member of the school’s debate club, president of the UAIS Student Voice Committee,  and the National Honor Society. 

Saba credited his involvement in school – going back to clubs at his elementary schools – as creating the relationships that have impacted his success. 

“Through every school and every experience in UCS I have always been able to find mentors – teachers, administrators, principals, or older students – and that has made the biggest difference in my life,” Saba said. “I think that is one of the things that Utica Community Schools does best.” 

At Harvard, Saba will pursue Middle Eastern and Global studies with the goal of becoming an ambassador or working with a non-profit humanitarian organization.  He said his career interest in conflict resolution and humanitarian efforts was formed by both his cultural background and his study of the Israeli-Arab conflict as part of his Extended Essay, an International Baccalaureate graduation requirement. 

His commitment to excellence and college, he said, was formed at an early age when “I would drag my mom to the Academic Blitz and College Fair” in UCS. 

“The idea of college being so important has always been instilled in me, and I always believed I could do it and should try,” he said. “I never thought I would be here with a smile on my face saying I was going to go to Harvard.”