A Dearborn high school student who was denied the opportunity to walk across the stage at his graduation has been given a full-ride scholarship to Lawrence Tech University.

Hatem Gelan sat at home as his class celebrated its commencement. The Edsel Ford High School senior says he works a lot of hours in order to help support his family, causing him to oversleep on the day of the graduation practice.

Addressing the School Board

On June 19, Gelan expressed his frustration with the school's decision to the Board of Education.

"Instead of walking across the stage with pride, I was at home wearing the cap and gown that never saw a light of day," he said. "Why? All because I missed a rehearsal."


Oversleeping Paid Off

Gelan's story caught the attention of Fordson High School PTA President Fay Nemer, and she began a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help the student.

Knowing that Gelan is interested in an engineering degree, she figured Lawrence Tech University would be a good fit. That's why she also reached out to Hassan Chami, the organizer of the Ramadan Suhoor Festival.

Chami has connections at Lawrence Tech and tells CBS Detroit that he was able to help facilitate the scholarship for Gelan.

"We had a partnership with them through the Ramadan Suhoor Festival, so I just reached out," he said. "It took me just one phone call, and I told them the story. I sent them the messages, and the rest is history."

Gelan says he'll be forever grateful for the help and notes that it was worth it to miss his graduation ceremony.


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