PATERSON, NJ – The educational journey of Paterson’s Abu-Saeed Islam has been anything but traditional, but the support he got in Paterson Public School classrooms, he said in a letter to his math teacher Linda Veleber, has him on a path to achieving his dreams of serving his adopted country, perhaps in the US Military, maybe even with NASA.
A recent graduate of Paterson’s Adult High School, Islam, then 19, moved to Paterson from Bangladesh in 2018. Because of his age, he could not enroll in a traditional high school. While Islam was a guest on Passaic County Community College’s robotics team, he was advised by a professor about the Adult High School.
Now headed to the University of Buffalo where he will major in electrical engineering/computer engineering, pre-med, Islam thanked Veleber for helping him “get back on track” in the classroom.
“I never thought I would get accepted to a nationally well-recognized engineering school, but your motivation has inspired me and assisted me to stay focused,” Islam wrote.
Veleber said that she recognized Islam’s affinity for mathematics while he was her student at the Adult High School, and adjusted his lessons appropriately. “When I realized his high level of math skills, I turned his math class into an SAT prep class for him,” she said. “His hard work and perseverance are what brought him his success.”
Congratulating Islam for his achievement, and praising his hard work, Superintendent of Schools Eileen F. Shafer said that “students like Abu-Saeed remind us that a student has no less potential for success just because they follow a non-traditional path.” Shafer also thanked Veleber for her “work in drawing out the best of her student’s abilities,” as well as Principal Nora Hoover and Islam’s family for also providing a crucial support network.
“I really care about the economic and religious freedom that the United States has provided me,” Islam said, adding his view that while the Adult High School “works like a machine,” his education, as reflected by an SAT math score that ranked in the 93rd percentile, was possible because “Ms.Veleber has helped (him) like her own son.”
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