QCHS grad receives Fulbright, CLS scholarships

Robert Bryant will travel to Taiwan for an extensive eight-week course in Mandarin and then teach English to Taiwanese students.
Posted on 04/13/2023
Robert BryantBy Gary Weckselblatt

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

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529- 2028 or [email protected].
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