Long Melford parents hope son's academic achievements can inspire others after featuring on international television
The family of a top-performing former Sudbury school student, whose academic achievements earned recognition on international television, hope his story can inspire others to go on to great success.
Shahan Al-Haq, of Chadburn Road in Long Melford, recently appeared live on The Sunday Show on Channel S, a mainstream Bangladeshi channel that also airs in Britain, after being honoured at the Ormiston Sudbury Academy (OSA) end-of-year awards for his top A-level results.
The former Melford Primary School pupil, who received two As and a B in chemistry, biology and maths, respectively, was invited on to the show to talk about winning the James McLellan Memorial Award, an engraved trophy awarded annually to Ormiston’s highest-achieving sixth-form students.
Earlier this month, he began his studies for a degree in biochemistry at Queen Mary University in London.
“I’m definitely excited,” Shahan said. “Once I complete my degree, I would like to become a healthcare scientist and research and develop more ways of treatment and new medicines.
“I always wanted to achieve something myself and actually have some impact later in life on the greater good.”
He credited his part-time work at the family restaurant Cafe Massala, located in Hall Street, Long Melford, from the age of 14, for giving him a confidence boost that translated over to his school work.
His father, Shah, told the Free Press it had been a great experience to share his son’s story on TV, stating he hoped it could show those who are less fortunate what can be achieved.
Having moved to Britain from Bangladesh when he was young, the 48-year-old explained this focus on education for his four children had been motivated by his own upbringing in a rough and deprived borough of London, where there were fewer educational opportunities available.
“Education was not at the forefront,” he said. “We never had that opportunity, so to see our children have that opportunity, we feel very blessed.
“We were overwhelmed. We are always happy to see him doing his best. For us as parents, we were overjoyed.
“Even at my age, I feel inspired because I see what can be done when you work hard. I have always seen him put the hard work and effort in. You can achieve great things if you are focused.
“It’s something we will be treasuring for the rest of our lives. But if you are fortunate to get something, you should share it with society because there are some people who are less fortunate.
“With my upbringing, I have found a way to be successful in my own way. At the same time, as I got older, I realised the importance of education.
“You have to make the best of the environment you are in. A lot of my decision making as a father and husband is from my upbringing and what opportunities I had.
“That’s why our priority is education. It makes you more tolerant and teaches you about other cultures.
“I just encourage and motivate them the best I can, and the children’s mother has had a pivotal role as well. It has been a combined effort.”
More by this authorThomas Malina