When Madaba native Jawad Wleidat ’15 first stepped foot on King’s Academy’s campus as a 6th grade student at the Summer Enrichment Program, little did he imagine that his love for a ball at his feet would take him to law school in the United States a few years later.
Wleidat’s passion for football had already been established when he enrolled as a freshman at King’s in 2012. He played for the varsity football team during co-curriculars for his entire high school career. “Coming down to the pitch, kicking the ball around, waiting for everyone to get here and to start practice,” Wleidat reminisces on a recent visit to campus. “[The football field] used to be the highlight of my time here, just coming down after a long day of classes”.
Improvement, teamwork and leadership are key components of the co-curricular program at King’s, and Wleidat soon found these values becoming a key part of his character through practice. “Matches and tournaments are extremely important. But all the hard work really happens right here during practice, during the week when no cameras are around, when no eyes are around and there's no one really here,” he says.
By the end of his junior year, Wleidat knew that he wanted to study law in the United States. But he also knew that his circumstances would not make that goal easily achievable. “I was never a 4.0 student and affording the best universities out there was going to be a struggle.”
With the help of the University Counseling Office and some of his friends who were good at creating videos, Wleidat was able to send all the universities he was applying to a video of himself at football practices and games, defending and scoring goals. “That video was always the highlight of my interviews,” he says. “It was my ticket to the U.S. because I managed to get a full ride to play football. Football helped me get to where I am today because if it wasn't for the scholarship that I had, I was never going to be able to afford the school I went to.”
Now a commercial lawyer at QuisLex, a law firm based in New York City, Wleidat also holds a Master of Business Administration from Louisiana State University and a doctorate from Southern University Law Center. “Honestly, the biggest thing that I took away from football here was hard work always pays off. The beauty of all those lessons are that they apply to every single thing you do in life. And because of those lessons that I learned [at King’s Academy], until this day — we're talking 10, 12 years later — I still get up every morning and try to apply these lessons because that's what's really pushing me to get to keep going forward.”