Fareed Ahamad began his journey with the Superior Chamber of Commerce by asking the Chamber’s new executive director for an informational interview. Fareed sat down with T.J. Sullivan – on the job for less than a month – at the Starbucks at Rock Creek Circle, walking distance from his Superior home. He wanted to know how he could connect with business owners to be helpful to them.

He was then a sophomore at Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette.  He came with a notebook to write down ideas, and he was very nervous about the meeting. He also wanted advice on how to stand out at his school with activities and service projects.

Sensing an opportunity for some free labor at upcoming events, Sullivan offered him a loosely-structured internship. Over the next two years, Fareed would help set up tents at the 4th of July Festival and Chili Fest, cheerfully doing grunt work for the Chamber while interacting with local business owners.

For the Chamber’s inaugural Leap of Kindness Day (now called the “Annual Food & Spare Change Drive”), Fareed gathered school friends and collected donations at intersections to benefit Coal Creek Meals on Wheels. Fareed and his friends were thrilled when they collected more than $1,000 in less than four hours.

In exchange for Fareed’s service as an on-call helper, Sullivan wrote various support letters for the ambitious high school student’s award applications, including National Honor Society and the President’s Volunteer Service Award (both of which he received). The two jumped on Zoom calls to discuss upcoming scholarship interviews.

This month, Fareed – now a senior at Peak to Peak – received word that he has been selected as a Coca-Cola Scholar.  Fareed is one of 150 national recipients chosen from more than 100,000 applicants across the nation.  The Coca-Cola Scholars Program is an achievement-based scholarship that recognizes students for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and community. As a 2021 Coca-Cola Scholar, Fareed will receive a $20,000 scholarship to help fund his college education.

That kid who helped you set up your Chili Fest tent is going places.

“I would like to thank everyone who has motivated me to follow my dreams and helped me to become who I am today through love, support, and consideration,” Fareed said. “I am thrilled to see what lies ahead.”

Congrats, Fareed!