At just 4-years old, Elie Haoui received his first magic kit, a gift fom his mother.
"I can remember it," he said.
"It had a deck of cards, um it was cheap material cards, a little magic wand, it was four balls, three cups, had a little bit of rope. It was really small, it was like a tin can, it was purple," he continued.
Elie was around 8 years old when he was able to articulate his desire to pursue magic seriously.
From that day forward, magic would go on to change not only Elie's life, but the lives of those around him.
Now 17, Elie has traveled the world sharing his talent with many.
"I’ve done magic all over the world in different places. Whether it be in an airport in France or whether it be at my hometown in Lebanon, where my dad grew up."
Even with having visited seven countries outside the U.S., Elie says his message remains the same.
Believe in yourself.
Growing up pursing magic, as you can imagine, wasn't a walk in the park.
"It wasn’t the easiest especially when you’re going around the halls with a deck of cards and people saying you’ll never do what you want to do."
He recalls classmates discouraging his dreams and even his parents not fully comprehending his passion.
Despite that, Elie never stopped believing in himself; and that's the message that he wants to share with his peers and other young people.
"My goal is to help kids find their sense of purpose and help them understand that just because someone says you cant do something, doesn't mean you can’t do it," he said.
"If you put your mind and heart to it, you can change the world."
The son of a teacher and a businessman, Elie credits his family with providing him with a strong foundation that kept him in good spirits.
Elie has come a long way since his mother gifted him his magic kit, and taught him his first trick, "Aces on top."
He's also had some additional help along the way.
Professional illusionist, card thrower and holder of three Guinness World records, Rick Smith Jr. has served as Elie's mentor the past three years.
"He’s the boss, he’s the coolest guy ever," he said.
"He guides me in the aspect of business and you know, we have bigger plans coming for the future and he’s just always been there for me," Elie added.
Elie is currently touring with 'Magic Gives Back,' an organization that puts a "Las Vegas-style" twist on traditional fundraising for local schools.
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While magic largely consumes much of Elie's life, he still has many of the same responsibilities as a typical 17-year-old.
Elie is currently a senior at Columbia High School, excitedly chanting, "Go Raiders," during our interview. He has plans to attend Cleveland State University in the fall.
This magician intends to study marketing. He's had proven success in the field, boasting 130,000 followers on Instagram.
But for Elie, it's not about the money or the fame.
"It really was about people’s reactions, the way they interacted with the magic," he said. "It really showed me this is a big deal and makes someone happy. And if I can make someone happy then I can change the world."
Elie is currently working with officials at his high school to host a district-wide forum to share his story in an effort to inspire others.