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Pitman student overcomes language, cultural barriers to excel

Pitman student overcomes language, cultural barriers to excel

Pitman senior Ziti Qin, 17, was honored during the "Every Student Succeeding" program held last week in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against cha...

POSTED March 15, 2011 8:31 p.m.

Pitman senior Ziti Qin, 17, proves that where there’s a will, there’s a way. 

Four years ago Qin came to the United States from Beijing, China with his mother. He barely spoke English and his father had passed away just months before. His father’s death motivated his mother to move to the U.S. 

Despite such difficult circumstances and such a drastic change in his life, Qin couldn’t be stopped from his goal of improving his academic performance. 

In his freshman year at Pitman Qin was enrolled in remedial English classes, but today it’s hard to believe that he recently immigrated to the U.S. What is far more impressive is his steadfast commitment to his studies.

This year Qin is carrying a 4.5 grade point average. He has been enrolled in advanced placement classes, including English literature, chemistry, government and calculus. As if that wasn’t enough, the young Renaissance man has also been enrolled in Spanish III and photography. 

His apparent mastery of the English language, widely known as one of the most difficult to learn in the world, can be attributed to television, of all things.

“I watch TV and I repeat what they say so I can learn the accent. I tried to get the accent because I felt I have to, it’s embarrassing to not have an answer when someone ask you a question and they expect you to answer them,” he said. 

Last week Qin was honored, along with several other Turlock students, by local politicians and leaders during the “Every Student Succeeding” program held in Modesto. Every Student Succeeding honors students who have overcome and succeeded against challenges, have gone beyond expectations and have won the hearts of their teachers and staff. The honor is given by the Association of School Administrators Stanislaus Charter, the County Office of Education, Mosce Credit Union and Gallo Winery.

Qin’s philosophy on his schooling is simple: “My mother has always told me that school is my job.” His drive to succeed comes from an even deeper, yet just as simple philosophy: “I’m man of the family,” he said. 

Qin’s efforts impressed his academic counselor at Pitman, Phillip Sanchez.

“To go from basic English classes to AP English in three years is amazing, and he takes a full load of AP classes; I’ve never seen anything like that before,” said Sanchez. “It’s hard enough to come to a new school and do well, let alone with what he went through and he didn’t have the entire support system a lot of other kids have; he’s definitely overcome a lot.”

Sanchez nominated Qin for the Every Student Succeeding honor. Sanchez explained that Pitman does not have a large Chinese student population and that unlike immigrant students from the Middle East, Mexico and India, Qin could not fall back on fellow students of similar culture for help in learning the American culture.

“He took the initiative and integrated himself early on,” said Sanchez.

Socially, Qin is involved in International Club, the Future Business Leaders, the SAFE Club and the California Scholastic Federation. 

In his free time Qin enjoys photography and playing basketball with his friends. His favorite teams are the Lakers, Rockets and Heat. 

Currently, Qin is awaiting word on acceptance to UC Berkeley, where he hopes to major in psychology. He has already been accepted to UC Riverside and UC Merced. 

To contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015. 

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