Beware people, there’s a new kid on the block!
While we are still reeling from Esther Okade’s dazzle, another marvel shows up, all dressed and ready to take the world in a whip.
Harold Ekeh made no formal announcements about his arrival. He is just a cool kid with an unbridled resolve to be the best he can be and through his story, inspire other young people to step out and make a change.
“Anybody who sees my story can say, ‘If he can do it, I can do it.’ I’m just a kid who had a real strong support system.”
Harold was born in Nigeria, but he moved with his parents and four brothers to the United States when he was only 8 years old. He recounts that his early days in the US may have been the most challenging period of his life, as it was difficult for him to adjust to the American life and style.
Worse still, he had a thick Nigerian accent which wouldn’t let go despite his constant efforts. But instead of cowering in shame or defeat, Harold decided to face his challenge with utmost devotion and persistence, he enrolled for an additional history class, ground over chemistry experiments and worked tirelessly on his pronunciations.
As expected, his labour eventually paid off, handsomely.
The Elmont Memorial High School senior Harold Ekeh boasts a grade-point average of 100.5 percent, an SAT score of 2270 and was a semifinalist for the national Intel Science Talent Search.
He now has his pick of the nation’s top institutions of higher learning: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania — none of which accepts more than 14 percent of applicants.
Harold credits his parents, Paul and Roselin — former clerks at a Target store in Queens — for challenging him to be his best and achieve great feats.
‘It was such a huge thing for my parents to uproot our family, a family of six, from our home to a new country. I was worried as a kid about speaking with an American accent, but they worried about actually finding jobs. He explains in an interview with DailyMail.com.
‘They joked that they came over for the 24-hour electricity. But I know it was so we would have opportunities as children. ‘No matter how many times they got knocked down, they stayed positive, and kept telling me that the secret to success in unbridled resolve.’
It is interesting to know that the wonder teen also has a burning passion for more than the academics. He is a youth choir director and drummer in his local church. He also volunteers for a social-justice campaign and mentors other students. He founded a college mentoring program at his school, Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island in the New York city suburbs, with a goal to get more students into top universities
Now, Harold is left to make a tough decision. Which of the eight will it be?
‘I’m torn because each school offers something different, and there are so many different things I’m looking for,’ he said. ‘I want to go to a good school where I can study hard, but I also want somewhere where I feel comfortable; somewhere I could imagine calling home. ‘I also want to meet other students, make friends, travel, and do other activities. ‘When people ask me which one, I have said Yale so far because I have a connection with Yale. I went to Yale with the Model United Nations, and got to see how inspiring and interesting it is there.
Besides being admitted into the eight Ivy League Schools, Harold also has a spot reserved for him in five other schools he had applied to- MIT, NYU, Johns Hopkins University, Stony Brook University and Vanderbilt University. “Never would I have expected to get into all 13 schools. I just wanted to increase my chances of getting into one of them,” he said.
The young genius hopes to become a neurosurgeon in the future. His interest in this area soared when his grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when he was 11.
Despite his towering feats, Harold maintains a humble deportment and focuses his gaze on the big picture.
“I don’t see it as an accomplishment for me. I see it as an accomplishment for my community. I hope it inspires the younger generation, not just in Elmont, but overall,” he says to cnnmoney.
Like Harold, everyone has been given a measure. Now the question is, how much of it are you willing to maximize? Never forget, you have all it takes to be the best there can ever be. Step out and be encouraged by your future.