BHS senior leaves past behind to start a new chapter of his life


Nadya Buffum, Staff Writer

On June 22nd, 2015, Mamedov and his family of five took a plane from Kazakhstan to John F. Kennedy International Airport. A sixteen-hour flight to the land of the free.

A Biddeford High School senior, Mamedkuli Mamedov, has an incredible story that not many know about.

“My country [Kazakhstan] is hard to be successful in, its like nation domination, just hard to be there. It is nice here in the country because the government [appreciates that] you are here, but there was no appreciation there. It is good condition here.” said Mamedov.

Mamedov did not want to go into detail about his life before, but he enjoyed talking about being in the United States.

“The teachers are so nice.” Mamedov said, “like they make fun and we can make fun, and they’re making jokes.”

Mamedov is thankful that he has this connection with his teachers. He said that back in his country kids can’t talk to teachers that way. For him, living in the U.S. introduces him to a new connection with the teachers he spends 180 days a year with.

“The teachers are more serious, more serious during the class, you can’t use your phone, you can’t use the laptops, there weren’t any laptops in my school, just the books,” said Mamedov. “And before the test you have to practice a lot to pass the test, if you didn’t you don’t have a second chance.”

This new Standards-Based Learning is new to him, but he likes that he can retake a summative if he got a bad grade on it. 

“When I first came here, I knew no English, I never even spoke it. [However], now my English has gotten better, but I still struggle with pronunciation,””

— Mamedov

When Mamedov first came to the high school, he had an obstacle that he quickly realized. His limited  knowledge of English was a language barrier when he first arrived. However, it didn’t stop him. Due to missing a credit last year, he is happy that he had to stay back another senior year. It let him learn more of the English language.

“When I first came here, I knew no English, I never even spoke it. [However], now my English has gotten better, but I still struggle with pronunciation,” said Mamedov.

Mamedov works at a local Mexican restaurant and enjoys working there. He says that when it is not busy, he is learning to speak Spanish so he can understand his coworkers. Mamedov also works to support his family.

“I work to make a living. Fifty percent of my paycheck goes to my family [and] the other goes to me,” Mamedov said.

Only a couple of months away from graduating, Mamedov is planning on going to the California coast guard base to give back for letting him live here; free from what he was living like in Kazakhstan.

When asked if he thinks that our culture appreciates immigrants, he responded: “yeah yeah they appreciate us, they try to help us, and I want to pay it back, that’s why I want to go into the Coast Guard after when I graduate high school.”

Mamedov family history all includes stories from being in a war. He was to share the experience of telling bedtime stories to his kids in the future.

“My grandfather and my father and my great-great grandfather all went to the war, and they were in World War I and World War II,” Mamedov said. “They all did something for their family, and they told me their life stories. Not the made up stories, the real stories… I want to be able to tell stories to my kids like tales for the night.”