Rafi Kondapalli

2020 Scholarship Recipient

“It’s going to be extremely difficult, but I always like a challenge and it’ll be worth it.” – Rafi Kondapalli

Rafi knows all about hard work. He has worked exceedingly hard for every academic win he’s ever had. 

As a toddler, Rafi was diagnosed with leukemia. After years of chemotherapy, neurological testing revealed serious memory deficits in Rafi. To circumvent these issues, he spent his childhood memorizing math equations, multiplication and division tables with his mother Guven. Originally from Turkey, Guven would read the equations aloud from her Turkish textbook and Rafi would mentally translate before repeating them back in English.

But when COVID-19 hit in the winter of 2020 and school was unceremoniously closed, things that were already difficult were about to get even tougher. It was Rafi’s last year of school and he needed to get into engineering.

Rafi accessed our online tutoring service, where he was matched with an IT engineer Steve Reid. With Steve’s guidance, Rafi completed his grade-12 year at the top of his class.

Tutoring with Steve throughout the summer, Rafi also tackled college-level math and science to prepare for studies in the fall. He has been accepted into the Electronics Engineering Technology program at SAIT, a program he is pursuing with the help of a Kids Cancer Care scholarship.

“Just knowing that Rafi’s memory has been affected by chemo is half the battle,” says Steve. “If you know this and you’re willing to put in the effort, you can work around it. Rafi is an example of how hard work pays off.”