The best student I ever had was a girl from Iran. She was a devout Muslim. She wore modest clothes – not a birka, but long sleeves and a head scarf. She was quiet, but she was hard working. She was a pre-med student. But her family felt that, living in the west, she should know our traditions and our history. She was phenomenal – she kicked butt in Latin and Greek, quietly working, quiet in class, never tooting her own horn, virtually reclusive. But I was her advisor and got to know her well.
She was the best student I ever had as an undergraduate in terms of her ability of Latin and Greek.
She was Iranian and Muslim.
She was a dual major in Classics (but really Latin and Greek, two very difficult languages) and pre-med.
She wanted to be a doctor and stay in this country – she was the best of the best.
And when she graduated from the University of Maryland summa cum laude (that’s Latin for “really smart” for you Deplorabiles) . . .
she was 17 . . .