Leaving behind high school for the opportunity of a lifetime

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Renee Backstrom

Senior Waleed Rehman gazes off into the gym to the thought of what graduation would feel like. Rehman will be the first to graduate early from David City High School at semester.

Renee Backstrom

There is an excuse that high schoolers use nowadays called “senioritis”. It is when students and teachers feel that seniors have given up and get a little rowdy. For one student, though, he doesn’t have time to catch senioritis because his last year of high school will end after the first semester.

Making David City High School history, senior Waleed Rehman will be the first to graduate early from high school. After his first semester of senior year, Rehman will travel all the way to Dubai to attend Medical School.

“I have more opportunities overseas rather than here,” Waleed said. “I can start earlier and don’t have to waste four years of my life doing Pre-Medicine.”

Sophomore Haleema Rehman, Waleed’s sister, says she has a great relationship with her brother and that they are fairly close.

“I am going to be sad, but I know Waleed will go on to do great things,” Haleema said. “The house is going to be pretty quiet since we joke around and mess with each other a lot.”

Waleed said he will be leaving his friends, distant family, and favorite teachers behind to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

“I will definitely miss Mr. Ockander because of Speech. Through him I have learned to speak better and have thought of him more as a friend and mentor rather than a teacher,” Waleed said.

This would have marked Waleed’s fourth year in Speech. Qualifying every year, Waleed placed fourth in Extemporaneous Speaking his junior year. He was also one spot away from qualifying for Nationals in Domestic Extemp.

Waleed has been a vital part of the team’s success in other events, from Impromptu to Informative to Persuasive, Speech Coach Jarod Ockander said.

“My only regret is that the last speech he gave, he went overtime, so that’s probably the most frustrating part. Waleed could have had redemption for that this year,” Ockander said. “He’s been one of the state’s best extempers for the last couple of years. He has shown great progress when you consider that as a freshman, I made him use the same attention getter for every single speech to mitigate any mistakes he might make.”

In order to graduate DCHS early, a student must apply during the first semester of their junior year. From there, the application is taken to the School Board to be voted on.

“For Waleed, we made an exception,” Principal Cortney Couch said. “It came so sudden for Waleed and it’s such an incredible once-in-a-lifetime chance that we made an exception and allowed it.”

Waleed said he has pondered the thought of returning for the graduation ceremony, but due to travel reasons, has decided not to.

“I can watch the ceremony live on the computer,” Waleed said. “It is also hard to come back and forth when it is a 12-hour plane ride.”

At this moment, Waleed is the senior class Valedictorian. Since he is leaving, he will not have the chance to deliver a graduation speech like normal.

“It is exciting to know that I was [Valedictorian]. My sisters wish I could give a speech,” Waleed said.

Waleed plans to come back to the States for his residency, but then return to his home place of Pakistan to do what he loves: practice medicine.

“It [Pre-Med] was always in the back of my mind, but when I took Human Anatomy last year I really knew I wanted to do it because I enjoyed the class,” Waleed said. “I can imagine myself living there and loving the culture, so I am not nervous.”

Waleed will take off for Dubai toward the end of January due to Medical school starting on January 24.

“Our goal as educators is always to make and help students with opportunities, so that should be our focus and priority,” Ockander said. “I am excited for the opportunity that Waleed has in Dubai with his career.”