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A 17-year-old, Harold Ekeh, has joined the list of Nigerians bringing recognition to the country in the United States.
For his academic brilliance, eight Ivy League universities in the United States, including the MIT and Johns Hopkins, have offered the high school pupil admission to study in their schools.
Ekeh, who had his post-primary education at the Elmont Memorial High School on Long Island, New York, wants to be a neurosurgeon.
Earlier in the year, the youngster received the 2015 Intel Science Talent Search semi-finalist award for his research on how the acid DHA can slow Alzheimer’s.
The young lad’s passion for sciences did not start overnight. The fact that his grandmother was down with Alzheimer’s when he was 11 had a strong impression on his planning to be a neurosurgeon.
He says, “When other kids would say, ‘I want to be a superhero or police officer,’ I would say, ‘I want to know what is on the inside of us.”
Besides his brilliance, Ekeh, who directs a youth choir at his church, plays the drums, is part of Key Club and Model UN. He was elected to the Homecoming Court.
The youngster, who left Nigeria at age eight, speaks Igbo and Spanish and has a 100.5 per cent GPA.
He is proud of acing the AP History Exam despite his early struggles with the subject.
Elmont High School is 99 per cent minority. Ekeh is the second student in recent years to win a prestigious Intel Science award.
Principal John Capozzi calls Ekeh “one of the most humble young men I’ve ever had the opportunity to meet.”
The lab where Ekeh did his award-winning research is modest and only staffed part-time by a passionate Chemistry teacher, but the community makes the most of what it has.
Ekeh will spend the coming weeks visiting all the schools before making his final decision.
His advice to other high school students is simple: “Like my parents always told us, the secret to success is unbridled resolve.”
Harold’s mother, Roseline, works in Queens for a human resources agency while his father, Paul, works with the NYPD’s traffic division.