Khasim’s story connects directly to our March 2018 blog post and is a real life example of how receptivity and perseverance tend to masquerade as luck. Knowing that many of our students will face even greater obstacles, it is so critical that we work to encourage them to see the opportunities they do have and take advantage of what is in front of them.
We are so proud of the Belmont Family members that inspired Khasim to change his attitude and keep going, as well as all of our teachers and administrators who give their all to our students every day.
Here’s Khasim’s story, in his own words:
Hello, my name is Khasim Mu’min. I’m a 17 year-old African American male born and raised in West Philadelphia. I attended Belmont Charter School through the 8th grade. Belmont was really where I started to put things together. When I started, school wasn’t my top-priority. I liked to joke around in class, get into trouble, and I cared more about sports and social life than my future. All that changed, however, when I sat down with Mr. Sherman. Mr. Sherman was, and still is in charge of behavior support at Belmont Charter School. One day in 5th grade, he told me “if you don’t sit down and think about your life.. you’ll either be dead or in jail before you hit 15.” I remember every word, and I remember the exact way he said it to me. From that point on, I got myself together and straightened up. I began wrestling in 5th grade. My first year didn’t go as expected, and at the end of the year I even considered quitting. My coach, Ed McCabe, talked me into sticking it out, however, and I was glad I did.
“Khasim you have so much potential, you just have to use it to your advantage. You have the potential to go far, and be great.” – Chris Hanlon (Fmr. BTS Executive Director)
“You need to take advantage of these opportunities given to you, opportunities like this don’t come around for young African-American men all the time.” – Huseyn Ahmad (Khasim’s Stepfather)
The Phelps School is a boarding school for boys in Malvern, PA. When the opportunity first became available, I thought about saying ‘no’. I was hesitant about an all-boys school, leaving Philadelphia, and fitting in at a boarding school. That was when I sat down with my stepdad Huseyn. He sat me down and said:
“Think about the opportunities that have just been handed to you. Is this something you wanna pass up? With these opportunities you are destined to go far, and do anything you put your mind to. Think about it like this, Kha. How many boys your age and skin color get a chance like this? Not too many, too few. You can’t pass this up. Go for it. Take advantage of this opportunity Khasim.”
In the Fall of 2015 I started my freshman year at The Phelps School. I met kids from 18 different countries, picked up new languages, and learned different traditions. I was surprisingly comfortable with the dorm life and found it easy to be myself with everyone. That’s when the staff started to notice my leadership ability. Two months into school I was already being recognized for my character. At the Phelps School there are awards for academic success and behavior. Commendations, Merit, and Lion’s Pride (in that order) are the three highest awards students are given each quarter. After maintaining high grades, showing respect to all, and continuing to lead others in the right direction I was awarded commendations and merit in consecutive semesters. Going forward, my goal is to earn Lions Pride before graduating. At the end of the year I was elected Class President.
It’s a blessing to be where I am today. I overcame many obstacles throughout my life. I was raised in one of the toughest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. I never thought I’d make it to where I am today, yet here I am. My name is Khasim Mu’min, and this is my story.