“Do not be afraid to be yourself and stand up for yourself. Your number one advocate is you.”
These are the words of TFS alumni, Shayaan Khokhar, as he looks to give advice to current TFS students. However, Shayaan has taken this advice himself over the years. He is currently an amateur MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter on his way to turning professional. Ranked number 17 in South Carolina with 13 fights under his belt, he is actively pursuing a professional fighting career. While he wrestled at Leesville Road High School and trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu during college, his former TFS music teacher, Brian Gorman, helped coach Shayaan at a tournament many years ago.
Shayaan was part of the first class at TFS that attended from kindergarten to 8th grade. He shared that these were formative years, ones that laid the foundation for his future. “TFS was a good place for me to iron out who I am and what is important to me, which set me up for success in the future.” Shayaan’s little brother, Sarosh, recently graduated from TFS after having many of Shayaan’s friends as his teachers.
After Shayaan graduated from Leesville Road High School, he attended North Carolina State University where he received a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was able to quickly land a job at Cisco as a Technical Engineer for a specific kind of software defined networking. He has since taken on a few different roles within the company, and he recently celebrated five years at Cisco. Shayaan appreciates the opportunity to use his training and skills to help Cisco, while also having the work/life balance to train for his hopeful MMA professional career.
Shayaan has many strong memories of his nine years at TFS. As with many students, the 5th grade trip to Blue Jay Point was a highlight. It was his first time at an overnight camp, but the team activities and time spent with friends made it memorable even now. Many faculty and staff made an impact on Shayaan, particularly Ms. Landers, Ms. Little, Ms. Leck, Mrs. Belna, Ms. Kowite, Mrs. Moser, and Mrs. Bennett. To this day, he still keeps in touch with Ms. Kowite.
Shayaan wants to encourage those students who are coming through TFS to not only be your best advocate, but also that “it’s okay to not know what you want to do when you get older right now. Just trust yourself that you will figure it out- don’t let this stress you out.” We look forward to cheering Shayaan on as he pursues his dreams of being a professional MMA fighter!