As he worked to get back on the basketball court after undergoing hip surgery a year ago, San Marcos High student athlete Shakir Ahmad learned something about himself.
Ahmad learned he had a message to spread to the community about discrimination. He spoke to elementary school students about it. At San Marcos, he helped start a Black Student Union on campus.
This summer, Ahmad took his activism to the streets. He helped organize a student-led peaceful march against racial injustice that drew more than 3,500. He and a team of student leaders met with the Santa Barbara Unified School District and their voices led the board to unanimously approve a list of student demands, including ethnic studies classes and to declare racism a public health emergency.
“It was perhaps one of the quickest turnarounds of policy seen in local government, and perhaps a testament to the students’ efforts,” said a July 8 story in Noozhawk.
The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table is honoring Ahmad as the San Marcos recipient of the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award for the 2020-21 school year.
The award was presented by sponsor Dave Pintard in a virtual ceremony that included Ahmad and San Marcos basketball coach Jelani Hicks. It is normally handed out at the SBART’s weekly press luncheons on Mondays. The luncheons, however, have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The recipient of the award is a high school junior who demonstrates the highest standards of ethics and sportsmanship. Additionally, the award recognizes and promotes the development of good character, positive attitude and conduct, and respect of others.
San Marcos Athletic Director Abe Jahadhmy is thoroughly impressed with Ahmad’s character, calling him one of the finest individuals he has ever worked with in his more than 30 years at the school.
“He is an outstanding basketball player who has handled adversity by overcoming a major injury to come back and perform at an elite level,” Jahadhmy said. “He excels academically, is a leader and is honest and caring of everyone around him.”
Ahmad played on the varsity basketball team as a freshman and earned second-team all-Channel League honors. Last season, he helped the Royals earn a share of the league title.
“Shakir has been a great asset to our team since I’ve been at San Marcos,” said Hicks. “He has established himself as a true leader not only on campus but within our team, and now in the community with all the BSU activities and organizing the protests for the Black Lives Matter and helping the school board get things in order for the students. That’s something I’ve been proud of, to just be able to coach him.”
The son of Megan and Shakir Ahmad, is an outstanding student. He carries a 4.5 grade point average, is a member of the AAPLE (Accelerated Academic Program for Leadership and Enrichment) Academy. an is an ASB Student Board Representative for this school year.
He started a program called “Keep Ya Head Up,” which mentors elementary school students about discrimination.
“He’s a good, positive role model and a joy to coach,” said Hicks.
Said Pintard, the event sponsor, of Ahmad: “In these challenging times, things are worth celebrating. You’re ability to make a difference in the community and on campus make this a better place for us all.”