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Feizal loves to play video games and stream while he plays. His favorite video game is Fortnite. | Photo by Jenna Christensen

Growing up fast

Growing up in two countries, Feizal has developed maturity and helps his mom.

By Jenna Christensen | Student Reporters

Each morning, Feizal finds clothes for his four younger brothers and helps them get ready for online school. After Feizal and his mother have all of the other boys settled, Feizal logs onto Google Meet for his own classes.

“I’ve been helpful to my family by helping my brothers,” Feizal said.

Born in South Africa, Feizal has grown up in two cultures. In South Africa, Feizal’s father owned a convenience store, where he was able to gain admiration for how hard his father worked to provide for his family. When Feizal was 4, his family moved to Minnesota. While they had to leave behind their family shop, Feizal’s father continued to take care of the family by working long hours for a trucking company. Feizal says he takes after his father. Many days where his father wakes up early for a long workday and Feizal is willing to take on some extra responsibility to help his mom.

“[My role model is] my dad because he makes a lot of money for my family and I look up to him for that,” Feizal said.

While Feizal has become a helper around the house, his mother makes sure that he still has time to be a kid, and he has found a few hobbies he truly enjoys: playing soccer, video games and drawing.

Feizal holds up a picture of one of his drawings. He uses drawing as a break from schoolwork, and loves to draw people and characters. “I started drawing when I was about seven,” Feizal said. | Photo by Jenna Christensen

“I like soccer because I get to kick things,” Feizal said.

“I would give half of [my million dollars] away to cancer societies.” — Feizal, fifth-grader

If he were given a million dollars, Feizal wouldn’t have to think hard about what to do with it.

“I would give half of it away to cancer societies,” Feizal said.

He spends time watching YouTube clips and learned the importance of organizations helping find a cure for cancer. Elizabeth Earnest, Feizal’s fifth-grade teacher, remembers how Feizal — before the coronavirus showed up — would give drawing lessons to other students when school was in person.

“Feizal stands out for the way that he can teach others,” Earnest said.

At 11, Feizal is confident in his ability and character. He puts thought into how he spends his time and energy and is conscious of the way he impacts others.

“I am helpful. I am smart. I’m a gamer,” Feizal said.

Feizal’s Favorites:

  • Food: chicken and jalapeno pizza
  • Movie genre: comedy
  • Video game: Fortnite
  • Subject: gym
  • Sport to watch: basketball
  • Sport to play: soccer

(James Adams contributed to this story.)




The Maxfield Times is a partnership between Maxfield Elementary School and Bethel University’s English and Journalism Department, with support from the Frogtown-Summit University Partnership and Johnson Center for Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Jenna Christensen

Jenna Christensen

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