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Idalis Ibrahim received an academic excellence award and competed in a belly dancing contest.

SUBITTED PHOTO - Idalis Ibrahim at the 2019 Belly Dancer of the Year competition in Berkley, California. She is a dancer for the Akasma Dance Troupe at Stanford University.A Madras High School graduate, Idalis Ibrahim, just finished her second year at Stanford University and returned home with an academic award through the Black Community Services Center, for the second year running.

The award is called the Dean's Award for Exceptional Academic Achievement and requires the student to have between a 3.75 and 4.0 GPA. As a freshman, Ibrahim also received the award, according to her mother, Barbara Ibrahim, who said the family traveled to the California university in Palo Alto to attend the ceremony.

Barbara Ibrahim said this year Idalis's grandfather and aunt were visiting from Nigeria at the time of the ceremony and were able to go with the family to watch Idalis receive the award. Overall, Barbara Ibrahim estimates about 50 students received the same award as her daughter, who is majoring in Art Practice and doing some music production and composition as part of her art.

Aside from her academic excellence, Idalis keeps busy by continuing something she began at Dance Arts Unlimited, here in Madras, when she was in the sixth grade – belly dancing.

Barbara Ibrahim said that, when she was planning to put her daughter into a dance class when Idalis was young, she was surprised when Idalis said she wanted to belly dance. "I thought she would say tap or ballet," she said.

While here in Madras, Barbara Ibrahim said that there were times when he daughter would be nearly the only student in the class, but now the mother said she enjoys watching he daughter continue something she began back home.

Akasma Dance Troupe at Stanford requires an audition to join, and up against other peers, Idalis was able to make the cut. As a result, she was able to compete with the group at the 2019 Belly Dancer of the Year contest held in Berkeley, California, this spring

Barbara said that overall, through her first two years of college, her daughter has really found a community, through the Black Community Services Center and her dancing.

It has been really special for Idalis, according to her mother, to be a part of the black community on campus through the services center and other things. "It's been really special for her to have the black community," she said, noting that part of that makes it special is the fact that her daughter comes from an area with few black people.

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