A teenager has become the first African American male to deliver a farewell speech at a northern Californian high school graduation ceremony.
Ahmed Muhammad always had a dream and an ambition to create something that benefits the community and the world.
The 18-year-old student’s good work in inspiring youth to achieve their academic best and become model citizens helped him become the first black male valedictorian in Oakland Technical High School’s 106-year history.
Muhammad revealed his hard-working mixed family inspired him to become a better person. His father was a fire captain for the Oakland Fire Department, while his mother immigrated to the United States from her homeland of Cambodia. His parents never attended college and diligently worked in the real estate business to give their son and his siblings every chance to succeed in life.
The teen proudly admits he profoundly respects his father’s advice and guidance.
“He has taught me everything that I know and continues to teach me each and every day,” he said according to KVTU. “By watching him I have learnt what wisdom, hard work, passion, commitment, caring, and so many other values are–and I hope that one day I can be as great of a son as he is a father.”
Muhammad considers himself lucky to inherit the same passionate and hard-working attitude of his parents. Through constantly studying day and night with a strong will and energy, the young man won high praise from his high school teachers.
On May 26, he expects to graduate at the top of his class with a 4.73-grade point average (GPA) and, depending on how his final few classes go, may even finish with a 5 GPA.
He was also pleasantly surprised to discover all 11 colleges he applied for are happy to accept his enrolment, including the prestigious Harvard University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and the University of California’s Berkeley campus.
Next fall, Muhammad plans to join Stanford University as a freshman in Santa Clara County, where he plans to study science and computer engineering.
Although the student achieved excellent academic performance, he admits he is not as boringly studious as some might think. He is a very active person outside of class and knows how to balance study, rest, and play.
He is a member of the Oakland Wildcats Varsity Basketball team, volunteers his time as a tutor through the Oakland Youth Advisory Commission, and even runs his nonprofit science program called Kits Cubed.
Muhammad is widely considered to be friendly, sociable, and open-minded. He shows deep gratitude towards his teachers and treasures the friendships he made in class. His fellow Wildcats teammates like him for his brotherhood and team spirit.
Outside of school, his Kits Cubed nonprofit organization positively impacts local youth by creating “fun” and “affordable” science kits that inspire a child’s scientific imagination.
The business he started in a garage collects rock candy, potato batteries, and other basic scientific equipment. This is touted to give elementary and middle school students the necessary resources to study the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Kits Cubed has enjoyed rapid growth and even attracted support from former Seattle Seahawks NFL star and Oakland Tech alum Marshawn Lynch. Thousands of kits are supplied to schools in Oakland and the surrounding area.
“Founding Kits Cubed was the culmination of all of the valuable lessons I learnt throughout high school from so many amazing people,” Muhammad said, according to the broadcaster. “I am glad we were able to create something meaningful before graduating.”
Muhammad’s secret to success is enjoying what he does, and this helps him avoid feeling as though his work is a “chore.”
“Never stop dreaming and, while in pursuit of your dreams, make sure to implement a foundation in your life that can serve you no matter what it is you want to accomplish,” he said.
“Dreams are powerful and dynamic and, by having a foundation of good habits, you will be able to achieve your wildest dreams even as they–and you–change.”