Mountain Pointe High School recent graduate Zakaria Mahmoud, center, poses with family and East Valley Institute of Technology staff after receiving his award for "Student of the Year" from EVIT.

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Recent Mountain Pointe High School graduate Zakaria Mahmoud was named as the East Valley Institute of Technology’s Student of the Year.

A student in EVIT’s medical assistant program since his junior year of high school, Mahmoud said winning the award was “overwhelming.”

“I was surprised I actually got a prestigious award like that,” Mahmoud said.

The student will receive his medical assistant certificate this summer and attend Arizona State University in the fall where he hopes to continue studying medicine.

Originally from Somalia, Mahmoud said he had to learn English on his own after moving to the United States. While he said he was socially withdrawn until high school, Mahmoud said studying at EVIT and being in a different environment helped.

“It was hard at first,” said Mahmoud, on learning English and getting used to the social culture. “I started from the bottom to the top.”

Hoping to someday become a radiologist, Mahmoud said his experience within the program at EVIT was memorable, and the people he was able to meet were important in his success.

“It was amazing, and I’m proud of it,” he said.

With two locations in Mesa, EVIT provides college and career training programs for students. Programs range from medicine, technology, engineering and fashion among others. For more information about EVIT, visit evit.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dmartinez@ahwatukee.com. Follow her on Twitter @dmartinezAFN.

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