COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Syrian teenager who came to Central Ohio after a devastating war forced her family from their homeland is inspiring others with her academic success.

“I came [to America] four years ago from Syria. I didn’t speak any English,” said Sara Abou Rashed.  “We escaped the war.”

Fast-forward to this week: Rashed is one of 300 students at Centennial High School being honored for her scholastic achievements, but she says it wasn’t easy.

“It was very difficult at first,” she explained. “I struggled to make friends.”

After a while, fitting in became easier for Rashed, and she learned to accept and celebrate her differences.

“I started acknowledging how different I was and how it is okay that somebody is different,” Rashed said.

Rashed has been offered scholarships at 10 Ohio universities, and she is on the wait list at Harvard. Her scholarship offers come to a whopping total of $1,100,000.

Throughout her journey, Rashed says poetry was her constant companion. She will be competing at a poetry contest in West Virginia this weekend, with a poem that embodies not only her journey, but the spirit of America.

“I am America! I am America, because America is one resilient woman who is loud, proud with shoulders sheltering continents, arms extend and reach beyond oceans.”