There are times that life will knock us down

By Samuel Rahman  |   From : Jupiter, FL  |   School : Jupiter High School

There are times that life will knock us down and leave us with a decision to be a warrior or a loser, to give up or to do whatever it takes. My story is not about instant gratification but the willingness to stay committed, work hard while helping others on the way.

As a first born child of a Dutch mother and a Bengali father I was raised in the multicultural and multilingual city of Brussels, Belgium. At home we spoke Dutch, with my friends and neighbors I spoke French, and my father spoke Bengali to me when I was young.

When I was told at the age of 9 that I could never go to a university due to my learning disabilities, it seemed like my teachers had given up on me. But I have learned that it does not matter who gives up on you, as long as you keep believing in yourself.

One day in 2011, I heard when I came home that we would move to the United States. As long as I can remember my dream has been to live in the U.S, the land of opportunities.

I was ecstatic as this would mean that there were many windows of opportunity ahead. I did not realize however, that my learning disabilities and my lack of English would become a real challenge to me. Fortunately, I strive to reach for excellence even when resources are limited.

In December 2013 I arrived in the U.S. and when I joined school 2nd semester of 9th grade, my co- students at Jupiter High were very welcoming and intrigued to know where I came from. As I had learning disabilities I had to do a number of tests on arrival. These revealed that my reading comprehension test age equivalent was 8 years and 11 months although I was 16 years and 3 months at the time and my processing speed at the 3rd percentile rank. However, I did not give up.
For my first ACT test I scored an 18 not good enough to go to university. Now, in the first semester of 12th grade I have done my ACT test for the 7th time and my score was 27. This is not my last test, I am determined to be a warrior and get at least a 30 or higher. Because I want to get a scholarship that will cover all my college and living expenses.

Besides school I am working hard to become a renowned actor. In my first year in the U.S. I was approached for a scholarship at the Jupiter Maltz Theater Conservatory. Where I learned to act, sing, and dance after school hours. During my 10th and 11th grade I performed in several musicals where in my last musical “Sweet Charity” I played Vittorio Vidal, one of the main roles. My non-American accent served me well for this role. I also got a scholarship to join the Youth Touring Company for which I performed at a variety of locations for the mayor of Jupiter, the 5-star hotel the Breakers in West-Palm Beach, Wyndam hotel in Jupiter, and assisted living homes. These performances allowed me to learn and sing in English, Spanish and Italian.

I know that if I would have stayed in Belgium I would definitely not have had these opportunities at this age. I think many Americans do not realize how wonderful this country is, as most of them stay in the U.S. and rarely go abroad. I believe with my experience that if you are willing to dream, work hard, have patience, and faith you can achieve anything in this country. I am very grateful that I can live in this country therefore, community service is very important for me as I like to make a difference in the community. So far I have done 385 community service hours.

I quickly understood the importance of learning to become a leader. I realized that to get scholarships all students need leadership experience for their resume. Therefore, I founded The Leaders of Tomorrow Society at my school during 11th grade, where I brought in each month leaders from the business world. Further, I thought the members “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey.

I am Striving daily to be a warrior from the inside out: showing pride, respect, determination, integrity and effort at all times no matter what comes in my way. My goal is to take global business to new heights and become a renowned actor, business leader and philanthropist.

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