Kalid Ali, a Saint Paul youth leader, community advocate and recent graduate of Como Park Senior High School, has been selected as our 2021 Excellence Award recipient in honor of his strong voice on behalf of high school students and his commitment to community service. Kalid will be recognized at our 2021 Evening of Excellence House Party virtual event, which will live stream on October 14 at 7 p.m.
Kalid emigrated from Ethiopia nine years ago and graduated with high honors from Como Park in May. An outstanding student and athlete, Kalid served as student council president and co-president of the school’s Culture Club, and participated in a variety of varsity sports, including soccer. He was also a representative on the city-wide Saint Paul Public School (SPPS) Student Engagement and Advancement board, ensuring that student voices were represented in district decisions that impacted their lives and education.
Kalid was nominated for the Excellence Award by our Como Park Career Pathway Center (CPC) coordinator Bridgette Kelly – “Ms. Bridgette” – who worked with Kalid during his senior year and describes him as “an inspiration to everyone” who provides strong leadership and service to other young people.
During the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kalid became concerned that many of his fellow students – including members of his soccer team – were failing classes or didn’t have a post-graduation plan. He took action by contacting Ms. Bridgette and his soccer coach, and the three of them then worked together to get students into the CPC for personalized and expert support in exploring career and college options, applying for postsecondary programs and securing financial aid.
Kalid has an incredible drive to learn, connect with others and take advantage of every opportunity. He prides himself on giving back and helping others navigate the ins and outs of complicated systems and processes -- skills he developed as a young immigrant.
“I like helping people and I got where I am today because someone else helped me,” Kalid says. “At times we all need help getting over a hump or realizing our full potential. This is especially true within immigrant communities. When I see the opportunity to help, I take it.”
This fall Kalid is beginning studies at Macalester College in international studies and economics with the goal of strengthening African communities and bringing peace to conflict situations. He received a full-tuition scholarship to Macalaster through the QuestBridge program, as well as a Wallin Education Partners Scholarship to cover non-tuition expenses. As a community leader and first-year college student, he is busy preparing for a life of service.
A heartfelt congratulations to Kalid Ali, who joins the ranks of our esteemed past Excellence Award winners, Zaynab Abdi, Dr. Padmini Udupa and Josie Morrow. Join us in honoring Kalid at our Evening of Excellence House Party on Thursday, October 14, which will be live streamed from 7 – 8 p.m. Register today!