Qadeer (Gettysburg College, Economics)

Qadeer ranks 10th in his class of 686 at Brooklyn’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School, with a GPA of 4.0. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, made even more so because he arrived here from Pakistan two and a half years ago speaking little English. In his early months he was able to understand only about half of what was going on in his classes. Despite his language difficulties, his hand was frequently up to ask questions, and in part because of this one of his teachers suggested that Qadeer join his school’s peer mediation program. He did so, but was afraid that his English wasn’t up to it. When he told his teacher, she encouraged him to continue, in part because it would help him to master English. He remembered a phrase from a book he had once read — “Now or never” — and decided to persevere. His college advisor had high praise for his contributions to the school, writing that “He radiates the peace for which he longs, remains calm and balanced, and does not let life’s stressors frazzle him. His dedication to his school and personal community is inspiring to all who know him.” Qadeer in turn writes of his gratitude to a school where “so many people want to help.” There is another language that Qadeer is in the process of mastering — mathematics and statistics. “Telling stories from numbers is amazing,” he says. Qadeer next brings that drive and ability to Gettysburg College.