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Morris Sheriff: New Century Scholar and Member of the First All-USA Academic Team

February 26, 2008

Morris Sheriff, the past President of the Evening and Weekend Student Club at BMCC, a Peer Mentor, a note taker for a disabled student, and an Accounting major and President of The Accounting Club was just named a New Century Scholar, an award only bestowed on members of the First All-USA Academic Team.

The All-USA Academic Team program annually recognizes 60 outstanding two-year college students. A First, Second, and Third Team, each consisting of 20 members, are selected. All 60 members of the All- USA Academic Team and their colleges receive extensive national recognition through coverage in USA TODAY.

Sheriff Will Represent New York State AACC Convention
As one of 20 All-USA First Team Members, Sheriff will receive $2,500 and as a New Century Scholar he will get an additional $2,000 from the Coca Cola Scholars Foundation.

In this national competition, Sheriff had the highest All-USA Academic Team application score in New York State. He will represent New York in the opening ceremonies at the AACC Convention in Philadelphia on April 5 and receive special recognition.

Last year, Morris transfixed the BMCC Gala audience with his story, or more correctly, his odyssey of life in war-torn Liberia and the loss of family members, to his coming to America, where he found a home away from home at the college.

Sheriff Extends His Thanks to America
In an interview with the BMCC Office of Public Affairs, Sheriff extended his thanks to the American people for giving him the opportunity to succeed in his academic pursuits. When I first came to United States America,” Sheriff said, I was very grateful to the American people and its great society for embracing me and giving me the opportunity to excel and partake in its numerous gifts namely a high quality education, employment to underwrite my goals. What do I mean by that the American society embraced me gave me the opportunity to come to school and I am making the best of that opportunity.”

His Childhood in War-Torn Liberia Was a Strong Motivation
Sheriff also candidly remarked that his horrendous experiences in Liberia must have had a strong impact on his determination to succeed. “I can say my life experience has had a great impact on me,” said Sheriff, “but I have learned how to use my experience as a vehicle to improve myself professionally and academically. I have learned a lot and seen a lot in Liberia, where war started in 1989 up until 2003, which was 14 years of civil war. I have seen how the rebels intoxicated young children with drugs and all sorts of things to kill people. Those kids were traumatized and forced into child soldiering.”

“But,” he added, “I don’t let these things weigh me down as an individual. I always look at television and see people who have excelled in life and I know that many people have stories to tell about the crimes they have seen in wartime. However, I told myself I’m not the only victim and I have to reach out and become a success story and let people know that anyone who has come from a war-torn country or who has been through violence and crime can also become a success in life. This is my dream. This is my self-motivation.”

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