Safar, 19, was one of the students honored Saturday morning at the Grossmont College scholarship awards breakfast. She received a $1,500 scholarship from the Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, the merged foundation now serving both colleges in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
All of the students at the breakfast held in the Griffin Center had a moving story, many of them overcoming disabilities or a troubled home life to reach their scholastic achievements. Safar has come far to reach her academic success at Grossmont College.
She was born in Iraq and lived in a small town there with her family. In 2003, her young brother and one of her friends were killed by terrorist bombs. She and her parents, five sisters and a brother finally escaped the violence and fled to Lebanon, where they lived for a year until they were able to come to the United States.
Safar spoke no English when she started at El Cajon Valley High School, but that didn't stop her. She was on the honor roll every semester.
"I was ambitious and I studied hard," she said. "My teachers were so proud of me."
Safar also worked with residents at a care center who suffered from dementia. She said she would like to become a pediatric nurse, and plans to enter Grossmont College's nursing program before she transfers to a four-year college.
She had high praise for her instructors at Grossmont College.
"Their life is just to give -- they want to give their knowledge to their students," she said. "They give us many opportunities to make our future brighter."