Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 24

You never know where a friendship will take you... For Mitchell Dehtere ’14 and Syed Banoori ’13 it’s from Maine to Singapore and beyond Syed, what brought you to Thornton? Syed: I was born in a small town, in the KPK province of Pakistan. Very early on in my life my family moved to the biggest city in the province. I went to a private school and was taught English side by side with my native tongue. My father was in the Merchant Navy and would transport oil around the world. During my summer breaks, our family would join my father on his trips. This allowed me to travel more than 20 countries and made my childhood summers quite exciting. One day we would be in Italy and then within a few weeks we would be passing the Suez Canal in Egypt. This gave me a different perspective on the world so early on in life. I believed the world was indeed a small place and that we were all more or less the same people. When I was in 8 th grade our family moved to Singapore as my father got a job in Singapore’s booming shipping industry. I studied there for a couple of years, and I realized that I wanted to explore the world more and gain new perspectives. I wanted to experience boarding school life. One of my close friends at my high school attended Thornton Academy and he had only good things to say about it. That prompted my move from Singapore to a small city in Maine. How did you meet Mitchell? Syed: I met Mitch during one of his visits to the dorms. Both of us had 24 a serious nag for fútbol (or soccer as Mitch says). We talked about our favorite clubs and players, and we joked about how different yet similar we were in o ur view of the game. Mitch was very friendly and he invited me to his house. In our culture it is a considered a great respect when someone invites you to their personal space, their home. I was extremely pleased to meet his family who were equally polite and welcoming. How did your friendship develop over the years? Mitchell: About twice a week after school my friends and I would go over to the dorms. They had various activities such as Xbox, ping pong, and basketball. Ping pong was our go-to and I was much better than Syed, for the record (sorry bud). The real connection was formed during Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Syed is a very mature and lovable kid and was accepted by my parents right away. He always had a second home beyond the dorms and we always enjoyed having him. Syed: We had very many enjoyable weekends together. They mostly comprised of playing FIFA, watching Netflix, and eating lots of homemade food. I would never miss an opportunity to eat Shepard’s Pie made by Mitch's mom, Lynn. I have told everyone in Pakistan and Singapore about her Shepard’s Pie! Mitch’s family would also take us into the Old How did two students from opposite ends of the globe become best friends and embark on a journey that literally took them around the world? The answer is simple: they attended Thornton Academy. Mitchell travels the world in style. Syed in the Big Apple. Mitch (left) and Syed reunited in Boston in 2016. Port and throughout Portland to try different foods. We enjoyed playing in an indoor soccer league. We would play against each other every now and then. He was a defender and I was a striker, and we were on opposing teams. My team, “Foreign Swag” was comprised of all International students and his team “Saco Strikers” were all homegrown talents. What were some of the things you learned about each other’s culture that left an impression? Mitchell: The first thing I learned about Syed was that Pakistanis love their names as he had several parts to his: Syed Muhammad Rizwan Banoori. He also made me aware of how to respect his religion's views about pork. Family and friends are everything in the Muslim culture, which is why I consider him one of my friends I can always count on no matter how much distance gets between us in our future. I know I’ll always have his love and support. Syed: Mitch and his family have left a great impression on my family and me. Our parents have communicated and even exchanged gifts. They always tell everyone about the time when we had the chance to host him. My grandmother said Mitch was her favorite among all of my friends. She liked how he was so polite and soft- spoken all the time. I understand American culture more by spending time with Mitch. My experience has shown me that in America people have great values, principles, and morals. This is something that does not get enough coverage in the media, as compared to the pop culture or daily news. People here, especially in New England, are very accepting and inviting. How did Syed’s friendship impact your life? Mitchell: Syed taught me that there is a whole other world out there past Maine and beyond the U.S. I now feel like a global citizen with dreams and goals that I most likely wouldn’t have without him. I love foreign cultures and I love foreign people. The recent decade has cause a lot of stigma with Muslims and the Middle East, but Syed is a living example of why those stigmas are wrong. Meeting his other Pakistani friends and how his family welcomed me in Singapore showed me the true culture of these people. I have never met more amazing and loving people who have treated me as family just because I am friends with Syed. I traveled to over 12 countries across four continents this past fall and that door might not have been opened had I not become friends with Syed. What are you doing now and what are your plans for the future? Syed: I am majoring in Computer Science, minoring in Economics and concentrating on Computational Science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. The field that I am in is booming and changing very quickly. at Sea this past fall. I traveled to many countries and it has broadened my horizons immensely. I am currently a junior at Bentley University as a Finance major with a minor in Computer Information Systems. My ultimate goal is to be on the investment side of finance until my 40s-50s and then switch careers to become a high school finance teacher and coach soccer. Working with children through Bentley’s Service Learning program has taught me that I really enjoy being a role model for the younger generation and I want to help and motivate youth like my past teachers and professors have. Thornton Academy played a big part in this final teaching/coaching dream job. I would like to give a special shout-out to Mr. and Mrs. Sharland, Ms. Lasante, Mr. Marston, and Coach Carlson for being the role models and mentors that have taught and impacted me the most as I go forward in life. I never take for granted the relationships and laughs we all shared together. Mitchell: I just completed a Semester BY LINDA VERVILLE | PHOTOS COURTESY OF MITCH DEHTERE & SYED BANOORI 25