Meet Emanuel Galdino: Refugee turned college-bound state champion taking the world by storm

Friday, May 27, 2022
Meet Emmanual Galdino: Refugee turned college bound state champion
"Coming to the United States was hard, but the community was so welcoming," Stratford HS athlete Emanuel Galdino has a story full of triumph and he's ready to show the world.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just minutes after winning the UIL state championship in the 1600 meters, Emanuel Galdino caught the attention of ABC13 by telling us that he was performing for the world.

"I was the best out there," Galdino told ABC13 after winning the Class 6A title. "I just had to show it to the world and everybody at state."

ABC13 learned more about Galdino's global perspective during a visit Thursday at Stratford. He arrived in Houston only a few years ago after his family escaped a dangerous situation in their home country of Ethiopia.

"Coming to the United States was hard, but the community was so welcoming," Galdino explained.

That community includes dedicated teachers. Galdino knew very little English when he first came to Houston as a middle school student.

One of his SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) instructors, Dr. Carol Salva with Seidlitz Education, shared a video of Emanuel from 2016, during which he struggled to read.

Emanuel rewatched the video during the interview.

"It's crazy," Galdino said, smiling. "It's amazing - I'm lost for words. It's crazy. I went from no reading, no speaking English to this."

And this includes passing all assessments required to graduate - which he'll do so Saturday. And then, Galdino will receive a full scholarship to Iowa State University, where he'll run track and cross country.

"Me, I came from Africa, I came here - look where I'm at now," Galdino said. "I did something with that because I wanted to learn and get better with what I'm doing."

And show the world 1600 meters happens to be how far he runs. It's not indicative of how far Emanuel Galdino has come.

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