This week's NY1 Scholar Athlete of the Week will graduate first in his class despite only learning English less than three years ago. NY1's Anthony Pascale filed the following report.
Mahfuj Uddin has only been a student at the Cypress Hills Collegiate Preparatory School since fall of 2013, but in that short time, he's already made a mark.
"He went from this quiet, shy child and blossomed into this leader of the whole entire school," says Lauren Iocco, the school's assistant principal.
"He is a fantastic student," says Courtney Mitchell, the director of the school's student success center. "He's a role model to his peers. He is exceptional."
The senior moved to the United States from Bangladash less than three years ago. Learning to speak English and adapt to a new culture was not easy, but Uddin says he thrives on challenges.
"I always try to do better in whatever I am doing, to try do the best next time," he says.
Uddin wasted no time getting involved at his new school. He joined the peer leadership program and started working at the Student Success Center, helping his classmates navigate the college admissions process.
"The extracurricular activities and leadership, they give me the opportunity to help other students in this school, and also, to change the neighborhood and do something better for this community," Uddin says.
He also took up sports, joining the soccer team and the cricket team.
"I learned cricket when I didn't even know about basketball, American football and all those sports," Uddin says. "I used to play cricket in the empty rice fields in my village in Bangladesh."
"I'm really proud of him, to have him on the team," says Adonis Jr. Maravilla, Uddin's cricket and soccer coach. "He contributed a lot that made us to the semifinals, to the playoffs last year. He's a very resilient person."
His work ethic also shows in his GPA. Uddin is ranked first in his class and even started taking college courses last summer. Administrators say whichever school he chooses in the fall will be lucky to have him.
"I can just imagine, his straight As and all the clubs he's involved in, running around the campus with his sports and just helping change everything on the campus culture for the positive," Iocco says.
So, for kicking down any obstacles in his way, Mahfuj Uddin is NY1's Scholar Athlete of the Week.