Face of the Week: Hasan Mosadi of Catonsville Middle School
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Face of the Week: Hasan Mosadi of Catonsville Middle School

One of Hasan Mosadi’s prized possessions is a pair of Chuck Taylor All-Star high top Converse sneakers emblazoned with a special edition print of the cover of “Axis: Bold as Love,” Jimi Hendrix’s second album recorded half a century ago in 1967.

Hasan Mosadi, age 14, is an old soul.

“I can’t get into rap or any of the new stuff,” says Hasan, a Grade 8 student at Catonsville Middle School. “But I could listen to the classics all day. You can really feel that music, and when I listen to it, it brings out all sorts of colors and all this weird stuff. It’s really great.”

Hasan received the high tops four years ago at Christmas from his mother, Alena Treen, but it was his father, Muata Mosadi, who first introduced him to “the classics,” starting with jazz greats John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Later came Hendrix, Dylan, the Beatles, and even Pink Floyd, and in Hasan a fan was born.

Today, the personable Hasan plays piano, guitar, saxophone, and the drums – all extensions of his love of vintage rock and roll. He won’t wear the Converses except for special occasions, but he carries a picture of the shoes – on his phone, of course – and he’ll proudly show them to anyone who asks.

But Hasan is an old soul in other ways, too. In his first year at Catonsville, he’s become involved in school activities and remained focused firmly on his academics.

Outside of school, his pursuits seem distinctly retro as well; in addition to playing club lacrosse, he enjoys “long-boarding.” (Long boards are heavy, stable versions of skateboards that began life in the 1950s when Hawaiian surfers looked for ways to surf on land and pared-down their lengthy “long board” wave riders into smaller street versions, which they also called “long boards.”)

“I clearly remember my first encounter with him,” recalls Catonsville Principal Michael Thorne. “I was visiting an eighth grade career education class in August, and I saw this remarkably poised young man stand and read his classwork aloud. I was immediately struck by the fact that he was such an eloquent speaker. As I have gotten the chance to know him better, I have realized more and more what a natural leader he is. . . . Hasan has charisma and is insightful. I am so glad that he came to Catonsville Middle School and that he has been such a wonderful role model.”

Easygoing style

Hasan’s transition to Catonsville (from Our Lady of Perpetual Help School) has been relatively smooth this year thanks to his easygoing style and ever ready smile. He makes friends easily, he says, and he describes his philosophy for getting through each day as “just going with the flow.”

When he came to Catonsville, he realized he knew several students there thanks to his participation in club lacrosse. And it didn’t take long for educators like Marvin Briscoe, the school’s technology education teacher, to see leadership potential in Hasan.

“What I like about Hasan is that he is not afraid to do the right thing in front of his peers,” Briscoe says. “Peer pressure does not affect him. He is a great leader and student.”

That led to Hasan becoming president of the Boys to Men program, which “teaches young middle school students to grow up and become responsible and respectful,” Hasan says. It involves working with younger students and hosting programs and speakers who discuss ways young boys can make a good impression.

“We let them know how important it is to be respectful to everyone, especially to women,” says Hasan. Most recently, the group celebrated its “tie ceremony,” in which the 30-35 members of Boys to Men learned how to tie a necktie and received commemorative yellow and blue ties – the school’s colors.

Future plans

As the second half of the school year starts, Hasan is focused on his grades and keeping up with his music. His musical palette lately has included Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Metallica, and Rush, among others – bands in some cases that formed, recorded, and dissolved long before Hasan was born. And, he says, he’ll keep up with his longboarding when he wants a dose of wind in his hair; he recently got new wheels and trucks (axles) for his two boards, one of which he refers to as his “land yacht.”     

College is still a few years away, but Hasan has his sights set on either the University of Maryland, College Park, near his father’s home, or the University of Oregon. He’s never been to the west coast, he says, but he thinks he’d like it there, especially the region’s emphasis on nature. Owing to a fascination with firefighting as a child and an enjoyment of science and math in school, Hasan thinks some blending of the two – “maybe a ‘fire scientist’ or something” – would be a fine career to consider.

Either way, Hasan says, he will continue looking for ways to bring people together. In Boys to Men and in school, he has enjoyed being popular and well-regarded among his classmates – many of whom greet him enthusiastically as he navigates the hallways of Catonsville Middle.

Proof of that charge, he adds, comes from his middle name – Babatu – which he considers sort of a sign. It means, the old soul says, “Mediator of Peace.”

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