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Nabil Kalam makes us proud: Track champion and son of Bangladeshi immigrants named salutatorian

A first generation American and cross country star who loves Marvel action movies has himself become an academic and public speaking superhero after being named Texas High School salutatorian for 2019 and giving a speech worthy of his parents' sacrifice in coming to the USA. 

High school days started at 5:30 am for Nabil Kalam as he made his way to Spring Lake Park for varsity cross-country and track squad morning practice — always mindful of his academic work to keep his top class rank.

The running was for himself, but his parents were most concerned about his academic success. And he was determined not to let them down.

Nabil Kalam, who will attend the University of Texas in pursuit of becoming an aerospace engineer, is passionate about education and gave heartfelt thanks to teachers, staff, administration officials and board members during his 2019 Commencement address on May 25, 2019 at First Baptist Church on Moores Lane in Texarkana, Texas.

"Knowledge through teaching is one of the most significant gifts you can give," Kalam said. "Our teachers have done such a wonderful job."

However, Kalam's personal account of working hard to become worthy of his parents' effort pulled at the heartstrings of everyone who heard it.

"I am the son of Bangladeshi immigrants and a first generation American. My parents' upbringing has led them to teach me from an early age to take nothing for granted and to make the most of what you have," the salutatorian said.

Kalam pledged to continue to work hard.

"I have strived to live to my parents ideals and will continue to do so going forward. Because of their lessons and God's will, I stand before you today," he added. "Our parents have been through a lot and that is even before we graduates we born."

The salutatorian also recognized that the Texas High Commencement was an achievement for all parents involved.

"For them, today is the culmination of the past 18 years of loving, praying for, feeding, clothing, sheltering and yes, sometimes arguing," Kalam remarked. "But no matter where life takes us, our parents will always be there to help in some way. There will always be a lesson to learn."

The student council member also took time to promise that the Class of 2019 would make all their family members proud.

"On behalf of my class, I would like thank each and every parent who hears this. We will make you proud. To my parents personally, I will try not to embarrass you too much," Kalam joked.

The history of Nabil Kalam at Texas High School is proof that there is nothing he could do to embarrass either his parents, the school district or the citizens of Texarkana.

Everyone in the audience of the commencement and every person who knows Nabil Kalam understands that he is a special human being — who is always going to make his family proud.

Congratulations to Nabil Kalam along with his wonderful parents for a job well done.
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