When Sabah and Ralph Kallini emigrated from Egypt to the United States over 25 years ago they had little idea of what the future would hold for them. They came with hopes and dreams for a good future, and they came ready to work hard.That work ethic was ingrained in their three children, including middle child Jennifer, a 2009 alumna of St. Joseph High School, Lakewood. In early April Jennifer — completing her undergraduate studies in Honors Biology at Stanford University — let her parents know that she would receive a special award at her June graduation. It was an opportunity, she told them, to thank her parents and educators who had made a difference in her life.The J. E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement at Stanford — named for a distinguished chancellor and former president of Stanford (1949-68) — is based on overall academic performance and is presented each year to the top 25 students of each year’s graduating senior class (of 13,000) who majored in Humanities and Sciences.The award recipients are invited to ask a secondary educator of the student, as well as an influential Stanford faculty or staff member, to attend the award ceremony. Jennifer invited Dr. Terri Mendoza, principal of St. Joseph High School — to represent all of her teachers at St. Joseph — and Dr. Martha Cyert, her Biology professor at Stanford.“I am truly thankful for the strong foundation of morality, resolve and faith that SJHS allowed me to build,” Jennifer wrote to Mendoza. “Going out into the ‘real world’ is, indeed, a true test of character, and I feel that you really helped me to pass that test. That being said, I also feel that a mere email cannot adequately capture how thankful I am to have been under your instruction and guidance.”Family sacrificesSabah and Ralph Kallini were born in Egypt and married there. “But they wanted to raise their children here,” Jennifer says. During the recent revolution, “it was so hard to hear them calling Egypt. My dad told me how men were guarding apartment buildings with baseball bats.”In America, Sabah and Ralph owned a gas station, determined to educate their children well — and the results are evident. Older brother Joseph attended Baylor University College of Medicine and is in his last year of medical school before residency. Younger sister Julie will be a freshman at St. Joseph High School next year. “They have sacrificed for us,” Jennifer says of her parents. “What they have endured and how much they have given up for me — the insane hours, switching back and forth, taking each other’s places, getting their businesses started, especially the gas station, and hardly seeing each other. I am just so thankful to them both.”Her dad often worked at least two different jobs, while her mom would take her brother to work when he was little. “It’s a running joke in the family that my brother was raised in the gas station,” smiles Jennifer. “But it was hard for my parents. Mom worked until a child was born. Then right after the child was born she was right back at work again. “They work hard in everything they do — and that has inspired me. My mom always stayed up until I finished my homework. They put in so much effort to make sure that I had everything I needed. I don’t know that they know how grateful I am, and I have to keep thanking them for so much.” Jennifer does not know how her parents do it. “They don’t even complain. My only hope is that I can be as good a mom as she has been. The faith they built into us is amazing. She is everything I strive to be.”She keeps those sacrifices in mind as she thinks back on some of the stresses of study and working hard at St. Joseph and at Stanford. At St. Joseph, she would often say, “It’s in God’s hands,” as she dealt with challenges. And in college, “Stanford taught me that there are so many ways to be successful and experience life.”At Stanford, Jennifer has been studying pediatric bi-polarity. “Bi-polarity is a societal problem,” she notes, saying bi-polarity is found today in children as young as age 8 or 9. Her present study is concerned with the possibility of delay or preventing the onset of bi-polarity. After a year off from studies so she can continue to work in a research lab at Stanford Medical School, she hopes to attend either Stanford or UCSF Medical School. At present she is pursuing group behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy — “to foster community among these kids to show that they are not alone.” Just as Jennifer Kallini has never felt alone — thanks to a strong, loving family and a strong, loving Catholic school environment.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0628/gradkallini/{/gallery}