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GAP School Alumnus Succeeds On and Off The Running Track

Image of Mohammaed Bati running
Mohammed Bati (photo courtesy of Augsburg University Cross Country/ Track & Field)

Meet Mohammed Bati, a former GAP School student. At 23 years old, he has lived in the United States for less than five years. He and his family immigrated to America from Ethiopia in 2018. Making a new home with his family in St. Paul, Mohammed began his first two years of American schooling at Highland Park Senior High School. He then came to GAP School to complete his last two years of high school.

GAP School was able to provide a multitude of opportunities to Mohammed. He became a part of the Healthcare Career Pathway program, where he learned about the different career routes available after graduation. This program piqued his interest in pursuing nursing as a future career.

But what makes Mohammed unique is his success as a competitive runner. He began running at just eight years old when he was still living in Ethiopia. While Mohammed says he doesn’t necessarily run for fun, he loves the competitive aspect of the sport. And it shows — he came in third place in the 2021 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon while still a student at GAP School! In fact, his biggest goal is to run in the Olympics one day.

In the process of training and competing, he has developed a strong sense of discipline and self-control. His hard work paid off, and he was accepted to Augsburg College, where he is on the cross-country running team. As only a freshman, Mohammed won his first four collegiate races by more than 12 seconds each. He broke the school record at Augsburg for the 8,000-meter cross-country distance and won the MIAC Championship race. In November of last year, he placed seventh overall at the NCAA North Regional and earned a spot at the NCAA Men’s Division III National Championships in Lansing, Michigan. Mohammed was the first Auggie to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2012.

About his time at GAP School, Mohammed says, “They [GAP School] supported me in a different way, in education and also with financial help, and were really encouraging for school. They supported me in a good way.” Mohammed was an exceptional student during his time at GAP School. Healthcare Pathway Manager, Erika Thurston, detailed an example of his commitment to schooling. She said that during the height of COVID, Mohammed lived in his family’s garage to avoid becoming infected by an outbreak within his family. He attended school entirely online from his car. “Mohammed didn’t have any prior formal education before coming to America. He worked so hard,” says Thurston.

​GAP School also exposed Mohammed to different career pathways he could pursue after high school. Through his experience as a part of the Healthcare Career Pathway, he became interested in the medical field and helping people. He is now Pre-Nursing at Augsburg College.

Mohammed says his goal is to continue to stick to his education and to run good times in his races. Mohammed’s favorite part about running is that it is the same in every culture and is a good way to meet people. When asked about the most significant difference between high school education and college education, Mohammed said, “Going to college means, for me, knowing yourself, where you’re at, and the way you learn. Also, you get a lot of different experiences and learn about yourself. You must study hard.”

Between his full-time studies and running year-round, Mohammed certainly has a lot on his plate. On top of this, he is still relatively new to the U.S. and is learning to navigate the language and customs. We hope Mohammed’s story is an example to all our students of what is possible through hard work, passion, and determination. Through it all, he continues to succeed and make GAP School proud to call him a former student.

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