Student stars: Kahdafi Ariff Gilmore of Schiller Middle School


Chronicle intern Tracy Patinksi sat down with students from many Northside schools to talk about their dreams and goals. These students work hard day in and day out to make their families and teachers proud, and each one was nominated for these profiles by their teachers and principals for their accomplishments in academics, sports, arts and more.

Photo by Tracy Patinski
Photo by Tracy Patinski

Twelve-year-old Kahdafi didn’t have a great sixth-grade year. Luckily, seventh grade has been much better for him.

“It’s been going good,” he said. “It’s been a really great experience and a good education, and the teachers are fun, and we have great activities.”

Kahdafi said sixth grade could be described as “rough.” But when describing the transition into seventh grade, he told me that new friends, a better atmosphere and a new level of maturity have all helped to make this year much better, and overall a great success.

His time attending Schiller Middle School has also helped Kahdafi figure out his future goals. Thanks in part to his classes, when he finishes with school, he would like to either become CEO of his own business, or an astrophotographer, someone who takes pictures of and maps out the stars and planets.

The astrophotographer dream stems from a lifelong love of science, which began when Kahdafi would talk to his dad about science and work on experiments. When he started Schiller last year, science continued to be one of his favorite subjects.

Should he decide to go the CEO route, he would like to start a business to help homeless people and provide shelter for them. The perks of a CEO position, he said, include being highly successful in his field, and being able to take care of his family as well as others.

Knowing that these fields require good grades, Kahdafi is working hard to excel in all his subjects — he’s aiming to graduate with a 4.0 grade point average, and already holds down a 3.9. When I asked him about who helped inspire his success in middle school, he provided a long list, including his science teacher, his homeroom teacher, his counselor and his sixth grade teacher.

When he’s not doing schoolwork, Kahdafi likes to relax by playing basketball with his friends at Allegheny Youth Development, hanging out with his older sister and constructing projects outside with his friends.

While he’ll focus on choosing a high school during his eighth grade year, Kahdafi is already hoping to get a full ride scholarship somewhere in Pittsburgh, work hard and then obtain more scholarships to attend college. Eventually, he’s thinking about moving back to Erie where he grew up.

Looking forward to the rest of his education, Kahdafi said he was kind of nervous and kind of excited, considering the great year he was having at Schiller. But he also seemed confident that high school would go well.

“You should always try your best in doing something, and never give up on your goal,” he told me when talking about his future.

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