Career goal motivates Pike student to be better student

       When she was in third grade, Pike Elementary student Yasmeen Shafiei admits she was not a very good student. And when she took the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) tests that spring, she scored only partly proficient in both reading and writing - meaning she was barely qualified for her age. Yasmeen Shafiei (seated at right) poses with her little
brother Gabriel, mother Laura and father Mahmoud at Pike
Elementary this week.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Things changed last spring. Yasmeen, then in fourth grade, scored well enough on the CSAPs that both her reading and writing scores rose to the “proficient” range.
       What happened?
       “I studied,” she responded. It also didn't hurt that she got help from her father, Mahmoud Shafiei, a college graduate who emigrated to America from Iran in 1969.
       “He helped me understand the problems,” Yasmeen said.
       But there was a little more to it than hitting the books. Between third and fourth grades, Yasmeen decided on a career goal. She wants to be a pediatrician. “I like helping children,” she said. Her mother, Laura Whipple, said that some of this influence came from helping care for her younger brother, Gabriel, age 2.
       Yasmeen's career plan led to a family talk, in which it was explained that because her family is not wealthy, she would need to get a scholarship if she wished to attain her goal. And to get a scholarship, she would need to do well in school, Mahmoud related.
       “Now I know the importance” (of education), Yasmeen said.
       The turnaround means that she looks forward to school these days, not wanting to stay home even when she's sick, Laura said. She's also vice-president of student council and learning to play the flute and recorder. Her businesslike approach even extended to the interview with the Westside Pioneer. After a photo was taken, she immediately headed for the door. “I don't want to be late to class,” she said.

Westside Pioneer article