A strong role model for youth

Coosa Valley Academy senior Zaid Kayyali is a whiz at mathematics.

Kayyali took algebra and geometry as an eighth-grader and completed calculus as a junior. He’s a master with figures and polygons and understands exponential growth better than most in the graduating Class of 2010.

Faced with the choice of exempting a math class for free time or using the time period to pass on his knowledge to the children of Harpersville, Kayyali chose the latter.

“I was just told some fifth graders needed my help in math,” Kayyali said. “I love reaching out to people who need help. I didn’t expect it to be as much of a blessing as it has been.”

Kayyali, whose father was born in Amman, Jordan, said he has received many blessings as a student at Coosa Valley Academy.

Kayyali, who is the Coosa Valley senior class president, said his education at the school paved the way for him to receive a $49,000 scholarship to Tulane University. Kayyali, who plans to attend Tulane in the fall, will only have to shell out $2,000 for his college education.

Kayyali saw the tutoring opportunity as a way to give back to the community.

“It’s been absolutely wonderful,” said Kayyali, who also played varsity football and basketball at the school. “(Coosa Valley) has helped me out a lot and it’s been a great experience. I can’t ask for any more than that.”

Kayyali said a recent field trip with his fifth-graders allowed him to see his impact on their education.

“It tickles me to death to see their progression,” Kayyali said. “It’s really kicked in about how much of a positive influence I’ve had.”

Coosa Valley Academy counselor Janet Smith said Kayyali has had a tremendous impact on the fifth-graders.

“It’s impossible to measure how much of an asset Zaid has been to the students he is tutoring,” Smith said. “Most importantly, his working individually with students has instilled in them more self-confidence. Their self-esteem has grown as they have become more confident in their ability to do math.”

“Zaid is like a big brother to the class,” Smith added. “All the students love him and look up to him. He has been a super role model for them.”