CONCORD (CBS 5) – Musadiq Bidar never saw the inside of a classroom until middle school, but he overcame the late start and a childhood full of Taliban violence to become a Student Rising Above.
Everything is new for Bidar at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Where he has become the first in his family to go to college.
We met Bidar when he was still at the Athenian School in Concord on full scholarship. The kids there call him moose.
“If you had told me back then that I would be at Athenian, ready to graduate, to go to George Washington, I would probably laugh at you,” said Bidar shortly before getting his diploma.
“It’s wonderful and it’s amazing he’s here,” said Kal Balavenkatesan, Bidar’s teacher. “To think about a child having to go through all the stress and struggle he had to go through.”
The Taliban is not something Bidar saw on the news. As a young boy in Afghanistan, he saw their work in person when a bomb fell on his family’s house, killing his grandfather, and injuring his dad.
“My mom had blankets against the windows so just in case a bullet was fired, the glass wouldn’t come through the window and hurt us,” said Bidar. “I’d tug on the blanket, telling my mom to take it down because I wanted to see the sun. Basically we were all prisoners in our own home.”
Bidar’s father was a government writer and in danger, so they escaped to a refugee camp in Pakistan.
Bidar was 5 or 6 when he went to work at a carpet factory, making rugs to help feed the family. They barely made enough to eat.
When his family decided to come to the United States, he said he was speechless
“Like, if you were drowning and you finally come up for air,” said Balavenkatesan. “He was in a situation where human life was drowning.”
Bidar had never gone to school before he arrived in Concord.
“I didn’t get to go to elementary school,” said Bidar. “I didn’t go to preschool. I didn’t go to school until middle school out here.”
He had to learn to speak English, read and write. But these are opportunities, unexpected and deeply appreciated.
“He touches a part of everyone’s human soul,” said Balavenkatesan. “In a very profound way, you look at him and you say, ‘Wow. What can we achieve with what we are giving?’ When you look at that, it’s inspirational.”
Living through a war and poverty makes a child different, but Bidar embraces his history. Bidar said what makes him who he is.
“It happened and I can’t go back and change it, so why not remember where I came from, and use that past as motivation to be successful in the future,” he said.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved.)