Catholic High School senior celebrates diversity

Mo-Mo Filat, 18, sits in front of Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock with the school's dog, Zeke.
Mo-Mo Filat, 18, sits in front of Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock with the school's dog, Zeke.

With a 4.0 GPA and ranking 10th in his graduating class, Mustafa Filat, nicknamed “Mo-Mo,” has made his mark at Catholic High School in Little Rock. 

However, Filat, 18, has achieved more than high grades — he’s made it a point to make a difference. 

In his junior year, Filat and others helped jump-start the Reach program, a high school service program through Rotary, after the group had “fallen off the rails,” he said.

“The whole group’s premise is to volunteer locally and fundraise for an international charity,” said Filat, who is a senior officer in the organization. “This last year it was for Heifer International. We raise money through different projects. We had a basketball tournament held less than a month ago.”

Reach members have almost met their fundraising goal of $5,000 for Heifer International, which works globally to end poverty and hunger.

The group has also volunteered for other local charities and events, including Rivals United Football League. Participating in the flag football program adapted for special needs children (including those with autism) was the most touching for Filat.

“It was a self-realizing moment for me. Even running in the right direction, tying shoes, was so tough for them,” Filat said of the athletes. “It was so important for me and my boys (at Catholic High) to see … I think that was probably the most touching thing for me and realizing how lucky I truly am.”

A member of the Mayor’s Youth Council, a volunteer group comprised of high school students in the area, Filat was chosen as part of the leadership team in his junior year and was able to take a trip to Korea.

As a Muslim in a Catholic school, Filat has always kept an open mind.

“I think attending a Catholic school, one thing I’ve noticed is there are a lot of similarities between our faiths that nobody realizes,” Filat said. “My friends and the faculty have gotten to learn a little more about my faith; there are a lot of people that I may be the only Muslim they’ll meet. I don’t want to leave them with a bad impression. I am a representation of my faith.”

He will attend Hendrix in the fall, studying pre-medicine.

Despite all the accomplishments, Filat is a typical teenager, who said he enjoys listening to the pop-rock group Neon Trees and hanging out with friends. His time at Catholic High has changed him forever.

“I like to talk and I’m kind of opinionated … I’m not the average Catholic High student,” Filat said. “I’m Muslim and I’m not extremely conservative so that sets me apart a little bit, but it doesn’t mean a thing. I’m still a part of the family … still a part of the brotherhood.”

Aprille Hanson Spivey

Aprille Hanson Spivey has contributed to Arkansas Catholic as a freelancer and associate editor since 2010. She leads the Beacon of Hope grief ministry at St. Joseph Church in Conway.

Latest from News