QCHS grad receives Fulbright and CLS scholarships

Robert Bryant will trav­el to Taiwan for an exten­sive eight-week course in Mandarin and then teach English to Taiwanese students.

Robert Bryant, a 2019 grad­u­ate of Quakertown Community High School, has been award­ed two dis­tin­guished schol­ar­ships as a soon-to-be grad­u­ate of Temple University. 

The first, as a CLS (Critical Language Scholarship) Scholar, will have him par­tic­i­pate in an exten­sive three-month Mandarin course in Taiwan. That will be fol­lowed up by a 12-month Fulbright Scholarship, regard­ed as one of the most pres­ti­gious inter­na­tion­al edu­ca­tion exchange pro­grams, where he’ll be teach­ing English to stu­dents in Taiwan.

I would have been hap­py to get one,” Robbie said in a recent tele­phone inter­view. “To get both, I’m ecsta­t­ic and very surprised.”

Majoring in International Communications and Spanish, he is also cer­ti­fied in Mandarin.

Robbie is well remem­bered by his Quakertown teach­ers, who described him as “mature beyond his years.” 

He was an out­stand­ing musi­cian as Drum Major in the Panther Marching Band, and also per­formed in the Jazz Band, and Wind Ensemble. He also ran track at Strayer, played vol­ley­ball as a fresh­man and was on the swim team as a sopho­more. Robbie was in the first class that includ­ed Spanish at the mid­dle school lev­el, and he con­tin­ued his lan­guage stud­ies at the high school.

There was so much to do in Quakertown, and it real­ly did change my work eth­ic,” he said. “I learned how to stay moti­vat­ed, which is espe­cial­ly impor­tant when you’re busy and have to account for your time.” 

Juan Soto, one of Robbie’s Spanish teach­ers at QCHS, said “Robbie always had an out­stand­ing work eth­ic. And he always went out of his way to help his peers, whether it be inside or out­side of the class­room. His lev­el of matu­ri­ty was high­er than any stu­dent. Robbie always had goals of what he want­ed to accom­plish in his life. It was an hon­or to be his teacher.”

Band Director Frank Parker recalled Robbie as “very mature for his age. He was dri­ven to suc­ceed and not give up when things became dif­fi­cult. Talent only takes you so far. Robbie did the work.”

As a Drum Major, Mr. Parker said Robbie “led with com­pas­sion and not ego. He was a friend to all. A won­der­ful human.”

Erika Studer, who had been a mid­dle school lan­guage teacher dur­ing Robbie’s days in Quakertown, coached him in track and remem­bers him as the lead anchor on Strayer’s morn­ing announce­ments. His Pathways intern­ship involved work­ing with ESL students.

Language was always his pas­sion,” she said. “He always want­ed to help oth­ers and make them feel com­fort­able through his peer sup­port. He would take initiative.”

At Temple, Robbie con­tact­ed Ms. Studer when he was con­sid­er­ing study­ing abroad in Spain for a semes­ter, which is the same trip she took as a stu­dent. “It was such a good expe­ri­ence for me so I was so hap­py to have a for­mer stu­dent take it,” she said. “I’m so proud of every­thing he’s accomplished.”

Robbie had been con­sid­er­ing work­ing as a for­eign ser­vice offi­cer or work­ing for the United Nations. But with inter­na­tion­al issues between China and Taiwan and the pol­i­tics of today, he’s excit­ed about the upcom­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties through the CLS and Fulbright pro­grams. He plans to con­tin­ue teach­ing English in dif­fer­ent coun­tries, then move back to the US and go to grad­u­ate school and per­haps a gov­ern­ment job.

I’m very grate­ful to have gone to Quakertown,” he said