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AVID Senior Receives Award Named After Him For Hard Work, Dedication, And Perseverance

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Zaidi on right

Zaidi on right

Zaidi on right

Jazzia Barrios, Reporter

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Syed Zaidi started playing basketball in seventh grade and has loved it ever since. Once he started high school, all he wanted to do was keep playing. But after being cut from Taft’s Boys Basketball team, Zaidi worked hard and proved everyone wrong.

The Coach’s Award was given to Zaidi as a result of the hard work and determination he displayed on and off the court.

“Syed exemplified what a good teammate and player should be every day. He was cut as a junior, and worked his tail off in the spring, summer, and fall to earn his spot on the varsity team as a senior. It would be an oversight not to name the Coach’s Award after Syed and the dedication he showed to this team and the basketball program,” said basketball coach Aaron Levins.

Zaidi was presented with the Coach’s Award after demonstrating groundbreaking progress and determination in order to earn his spot back on the varsity boys basketball team.

“The Coach’s Award is for a person that displays discipline, helps their teammates out throughout the year and brings the team together. It is a really special award given by the coach,” said Zaidi.

It was no surprise to his friends and teammates when they heard the award was being named after Zaidi. Everyone around him knew how much he deserved it.

“I’m honestly not surprised that this award is going to be named after him and I’m glad that it is because he definitely deserves the recognition. Without being a starter or playing as many games or minutes, he just continued to work hard no matter what. Nothing ever stopped him. I think he deserves it,” said Giovanni Figueroa.

On and off the court, Zaidi was a team player and always encourages his teammates to be the best they can be as well.

“As a friend, he is one of the most supportive people. No matter what, he is always happy and always uplifting people. As a player, I’m pretty sure he was the hardest working player on the team even though he only played six minutes. When he did play, he always made the most of it,” said teammate Chris Garcia.

The award named after Zaidi will continue to be named after him from now on.

Zaidi was cut his freshman and junior year, but after extensive work and practice hours he put it, Zaidi was able to redeem himself and earn a spot on the Varsity Boys Basketball Team his senior year.

“I came back my senior year and I proved everyone wrong. At the tryout, I made the team, and I was really happy. I proved everyone who thought that I couldn’t do it. I showed them in their face,” said Zaidi.

However making it on the team did not prevent him from continuing to work for the spot he earned himself.

“After he made the team, he was still one of the hardest working guys in the gym on a daily basis, and he pushed our rotation players to be at their best day in and day out,” said Levin.

When given the award, Zaidi was unaware of the award was being named after him, but was ecstatic when it was presented to him.

“This award was really something I was appreciative of from my coach. I didn’t know that I was going to get this. I worked really hard throughout the year and I really helped my team come together,” said Zaidi.

Not only does Zaidi play for Taft, but also helps coach junior eagles as well as fifth grade basketball during his free time.

Apart from basketball, Zaidi is a member of South Asian Club and will be performing in both Asian American Night, hosted on May 11, and International Night, hosted on May 25.

Post graduation, Zaidi plans on attending Lake Forest College to study Biochemistry and hopes to try out for the basketball team once again.

Zaidi proved that hard work and dedication can lead to amazing opportunities. The team and coaches couldn’t be more proud of him.

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AVID Senior Receives Award Named After Him For Hard Work, Dedication, And Perseverance