My son Tarek is 17 years old. He just received an Appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. He is very happy for the Appointment and confident to take on challenges that enhance his leadership qualities. He also applied to the United State Naval Academy, Williams, Harvard, U. Penn, Wake Forest, Davidson, Dartmouth, Vassar, McGill, Setton Hall, American U., Lafayette, Union, Brandies, Babson and Tufts. I anxiously wait for the process to be over so I know for sure where he will go to college.
I appreciate Tarek’s work ethics and his ability to unify people around a common goal. He can balance the demands of rigorous academic curriculum with athletics and community activities. He plays three varsity sports; soccer, wrestling, track and field. He plays on a soccer club and maintains energy to deal with other community duties, like volunteering in soup kitchens. Last summer his work with the No Sweat Apparel Company was featured in three newspaper articles and recently the Boston Herald.
I will miss Tarek when he moves on to college. I remember with fondness our travels to Europe and throughout the US and Canada. We both enjoy soccer trips and exploring different places and restaurants. He trained with professional soccer teams in Colombia, Bolivia, UK, Portugal and Egypt. He speaks fluent Spanish and spent entire summers in Bolivia and Colombia. Hi Arabic has improved, thanks to an intensive course he took in Egypt.
Tarek is a fearless team player. On 9/11/2001 he was scheduled to travel to Trinidad & Tobago with family friends to attend the U17 FIFA World Cup. The flight was cancelled but was rescheduled a week later; his mother vowed he wouldn’t leave Boston but she gave in to after he insisted to go. Last year he attended the JRobinson intensive wrestling camp in Iowa. His race partner was having an asthma attack midway through a seven-mile run around cornfields, there was no one close, but Tarek didn’t panic. His teammate needed help and their team needed to complete the race. He carried the boy on his back for the remainder of the race, while encouraging him to breathe and keep calm. They finished second.
At the JRobinson camp, his day started between 5 and 6 AM and ended at 10 PM, with weight and fitness training sessions; “Dad, It was so intense, during the day the instructors hollered at us to do sit-ups and push-ups. Mentally, I couldn’t let go, I would involuntarily get up and do sit-ups in the middle of the night.”
I find Tarek inspiring with magnificent levels of calmness and energy. I enjoy watching his aggressiveness, balance and skills on the soccer field. He is known for skills but also hard and clean tackles. I demand a lot from him. When disagreements between us grow intense, I rely on friends to smoothen differences. Inquisitive mind, hard work and persistence are his tools for success. I am proud of him.