CPS grad Roshaan Khalid barely spoke English 5 years in the past. He’s headed to Princeton on a full journey this fall.


To say Roshaan Khalid’s had a troublesome transition when he moved 7,000 miles to Chicago 5 years in the past from Pakistan is placing it mildly: When Khalid enrolled in eighth grade in Chicago Public Colleges, he knew little English and wasn’t certain how he’d have the ability to study a lot.

“The entire [school] system was completely different. I wasn’t fluent in English, in order that was a problem,” Khalid, 18, says now. “I couldn’t perceive my academics, so I spent extra time on my research.”

Khalid ended up finding out so laborious that he not solely aced his lessons at West Ridge Elementary and later Mather Excessive College, he was accepted to the Ivy Leagues. This fall he’ll head to Princeton College, the place he received a full scholarship and plans to main in laptop science.

“What’s wonderful is that he’s had a really troublesome life, and he’s labored so laborious to get thus far,” mentioned Paige Stenzel, Khalid’s highschool counselor for 3 years, “The universe is simply going to open up for him.”

Khalid graduated Saturday. He’s the salutatorian of his class.

Laptop ardour rekindled within the U.S.

When he arrived within the U.S. at age 13, Khalid’s academics at West Ridge gave him grammar and language lesson books to complement his studying, aiding his English abilities.

Although he found his love of computer systems in first grade, transferring to the USA additional fueled his passions. He rapidly realized the influence huge tech firms have been having on the world.

“I noticed that America was pushed by computer systems and expertise. Seeing firms like Amazon, Google and Microsoft making a distinction in folks’s lives [reignited] my love for computer systems,” Khalid mentioned. “Expertise is fixing main world issues.”

Alternatives like Mather’s IT Academy continued to kindle his pursuits. There he realized Photoshop and laptop programming languages together with HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Khalid additionally participated in Northwestern Academy, a free, multi-year school entry and enrichment program by way of Northwestern College.

“We went on subject journeys to completely different schools and took college-level programs through the summer season,” he mentioned. “I simply challenged myself and got here out of my consolation zone and realized management abilities.”

Stenzel praised Khalid’s work ethic.

“He’ll take the time to take heed to what everyone has to say and take one thing away from it,” Stenzel mentioned. “He’s a really humble younger man.”

Khalid’s household didn’t know he even utilized to Princeton, the place he’ll examine this fall on a full scholarship.
Brian Wealthy/Solar-Instances

The significance of listening was a giant takeaway from his highschool expertise.

“With a purpose to develop progressive options to urgent international points, I consider we should hear to one another, even when our opinions differ significantly or result in emotions of discomfort,” Khalid mentioned. “Increasing our standpoint ensures that the data we’ve and produce just isn’t singular or reductive to solely our ideologies.”

Nevertheless, Khalid didn’t succeed on his personal. His single mother labored a number of jobs, even “on the weekends to make ends meet,” he mentioned. She additionally resisted calls from family to maneuver again to Pakistan.

“My mom prioritized our training over every thing,” he mentioned.

What was her response when he was accepted to Princeton?

“My household may be very happy with me,” Khalid mentioned — after they received over the preliminary shock. “They have been shocked as a result of they didn’t even know I utilized.”

Stenzel believes Khalid’s success will profit his household, too. His older brother, who can be a Mather graduate, labored to assist the household however is now in school.

“Which means not simply good issues for him however nice issues for his older brother and mom who’ve sacrificed quite a bit for him,” Stenzel mentioned.

Khalid additionally labored on weekends for a few years at Candy Virginia’s Kitchen in Ravenswood. He mentioned the job taught him the significance of teamwork.

“If we work collectively, we will accomplish larger objectives and more durable duties simply and rapidly,” Khalid mentioned.

He hopes to work at an organization like Google or Amazon and nd has desires of designing his personal software program or app.

“I wish to make and design software program that may assist the standard of life,” he mentioned, citing inspiration from entrepreneurs within the expertise trade. “They’re drawback solvers and making an enormous distinction in folks’s lives.”

He added: “Perhaps I can begin my very own firm.”

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