Ask any administrator, teacher or friend of Monache High School student Hassoon Sarwar what kind of person he is, and they all have similar answers — a dedicated, outstanding student all the way around.
“He’s one of those kids you hardly see because he does it all,” said MHS counselor Raul Bermudez. “He wears so many hats and does well all around. You only run into this type of kid once in a while.”
Sarwar, a senior at MHS, has been a four year student in the Multimedia Technology Pathway program and four years of AVID — Advancement Via Individual Determination, an academic support program that prepares students for college. He currently serves as the AVID class president as well as president of California Scholarship Federation, an honor society that recognizes students for their academic achievement in high school, and is active with Link Crew. In addition, Sarwar has played basketball for MHS all four years, three years of it on varsity, and has been in track and field four years.
“He does it all,” Bermudez said. “He is stellar all around.”
MHS Multimedia and Technology Academy teacher, Robert Styles, agreed.
Sarwar entered his intermediate class as a sophomore. Normally one has to complete the beginner class first. Sarwar was taking advanced placement classes and the beginner class didn't fit into his schedule.
“I took a chance and as a beginner in an intermediate course, he ended up being one of the best students, an exceptional student,” Styles said.
So it was no surprise to learn Sarwar is the recipient of a Smittcamp Family Honors scholarship — a four-year scholarship that also pays for a standard dorm room if Sarwar chooses to live on campus.
When Sarwar heard the news, he was on his way home.
“I was with a friend, driving home and got a call from Fresno State. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Sarwar said. “When I got home, the first thing I did was tell my mom. She said, ‘you’re kidding.’ It truly is a great feeling.”
His mother said she was initially speechless.
“I couldn’t believe it when he first told me that he got a full-ride scholarship, all four years tuition paid for. I was crying and speechless,” said his mother, Rifat Tahira. “He has accomplished so much and I would not ask for more. I am so proud of him and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
When his father arrived home from work, Sarwar shared the news.
“I was very excited to hear the news of Hassoon’s selection for the Smittcamp scholarship. I know all the hard work he has put in for many days and nights and I’m proud of him,” said his father, Zahid Sarwar. “Also, the support from all of his exemplary teachers and the staff at Monache High School has helped transform his hopes into a very bright reality for his future. I am very much thankful to God for all his blessings.”
One of his best friends, Haron Nagi, who he has known since fifth grade at Westfield Elementary and through Sequoia Middle School and at Monache, said Sarwar also knows how to have fun.
“He’s really fun, and dedicated. He is always making time for fun things typical teenagers do,” Nagi said. “But as soon as he gets home, he is dedicated to his home and his work and anything he does.”
Sarwar said he applied in December for the program, which is recognized, after a decade of existence, as one of the top programs of its kind in the Western United States.
A small cohort, only 50 students, are accepted into the program each year and Sarwar is one of them.
“I will be majoring in biology at Fresno State,” Sarwar said. “I will be on the pre-med track in hopes of going to medical school and pursuing a career in healthcare.”
Sarwar said he attended a virtual ZOOM orientation on Friday where he was introduced to some of his peers and was able to look at available classes.
“He’s an incredible person, very mature for his age,” Styles said. “He’s a well-spoken, responsible, mature, driven and motivated student. I’m excited to see what the future has for him. He’s going to do incredible things.”