Senior Joseph Mousaed gets a full-ride scholarship to UC Berkeley

Maia Hito

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Photo by Hailey Pohevitz

After a year-long process filled with uncertainty, senior Joseph Mousaed has received the Posse Scholarship, granting him a four-year full tuition to University of California, Berkeley.

“It was a long process but this covers my full tuition for Berkeley and it was a really nice experience,” said Mousaed, who is student body vice president and a staff writer for The Pearl Post. 

Posse is a scholarship program that identifies public high school students with remarkable academic and leadership potential that may be overlooked by some colleges to grant them a full-ride into college.

The Posse program places these high-achieving students into multicultural teams, or posses, which consist of only 10 high school students. These posses then stick together throughout college, supporting and helping each other to succeed and prevent drop outs.

“We go to campus and we have to show our support system, our bond, that we’re together and we can help each other when we have problems,” Mousaed said.

In Mousaed’s second semester of his junior year, he was nominated along with eight to nine other students by college counselor Linda Zimring to compete in the Posse program. Mousaed is the third Daniel Pearl Magnet High School student to have been selected for this national program since the school began seven years ago. 

Mousaed’s first group interview consisted of various group activities where he had to cooperate with other students to build a straw structure with one hand, compose a skit on an assigned topic, and debate on controversial issues. After this first round, half of the students were eliminated narrowing down 2,100 students to 1,000.

The second round was a one-on-one interview where Mousaed talked about himself, his dreams and his family.

“They wanted to know the real me, the real Joseph,” Mousaed said.

The Posse Foundation is partnered with 10 other schools in the United States, the ones in California being Berkeley and Pepperdine University. After the second round, Mousaed was selected as the finalist for the Berkeley Posse.

Similar to the first round, the final round, which consisted of only 24 students, had students debate selected topics and tested their decision making skills.

After Mousaed found out he was accepted to Berkeley, he became eligible to be a part of the Berkeley Posse.

“My family was a bit skeptical at first,” Mousaed said. “They were really happy for me and because I already decided that I wanted to go to Berkley before the Scholarship they were even more happy that everything worked out,”

Now Mousaed will be receiving training from the program beginning May 2, where he will attend twice a week the Posse Foundation’s office in Downtown Los Angeles. He will participate in group bonding activities with nine other selected students until he begins school in August.

“I’m happy and I’m really excited,” Mousaed said.