Reported by Malcolm Morrow
A 22-year-old Nigerian student named Emmanuel Ohuabunwa has broke the record for highest GPA in the history of John Hopkins University after graduating from the prestigious school with a 3.98 GPA on a 4.0 scale. He received a degree in Neurosciences and he plans to continue his studies at Yale Medical School so that he can gain a degree in Medicine. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa, which is an honor society that boasts prestigious members that include U.S. Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Nobel Peace Prize winners.
In a recent interview Ohuabunwa recounts the difficulties he faced being an African immigrant throughout his school career. It is saddening to realize how little African-Americans know about the African culture that our children are led to call Africans demeaning names and perceive them to be poor and illiterate. Ohuabunwa illustrates his face-to-face encounter with African-American youth’s ignorance about Africa below:
My parents moved the whole family when I was 13 years old. I was about to begin SS1 at Air Force, Ibadan. When I got to the US, I was enrolled with my age mates, which meant at 13, I was in middle school. “I went to Fondren Middle School, which was in the middle of the ghetto. That was one of the darkest years for me because I encountered a lot of peer pressure. Some of the students, ignorant about Africa, bullied me and called me names such as ‘African booty scratcher’ because to them, Africans were dirty and scratched their butts all the time. Some asked me if I lived in mud huts and ate feces for breakfast. I remember one day, when I was walking to the school bus, a boy came from behind and punched me in the face, called me an African and walked away. It took everything in me not to retaliate. I knew that God had put me in the U.S for a purpose and it did not involve fighting or selling drugs or doing the wrong things. My experience during that year gave me a thick skin. I learned to stand for what I thought was right even when the opposition seemed insurmountable. I also learned to look at the positive in all situations. Even though these kids were bullying me, I was still gaining an opportunity to school in America and nothing would stop me from making the best of this opportunity.
Maybe instead of making fun of students who want to excel, people should be emulating them. He persevered through his hardships and was determined to reach his goals and make the most of the opportunity that he had:
“I knew I wanted to go to the best school in the US. I had heard that Johns Hopkins Hospital had been ranked the number one hospital in the US for the past 21 years and I wanted to be in that environment.’’
He was worried that his parents would not be able to pay for him to go to such a prestigious and expensive university so he began to strive for excellence in school to ensure that he would gain the recognition he needs to fulfill his dreams. According to ChannelsTV.com, his PSAT score won him the National Achievement Scholar. By virtue of this award, he received certificates of recognition from various organizations including senators from the Congress of both Texas and the US. He also received scholarship from the University of Houston; Rice University, Texas A&M Honors College, and many more. He also won the Principal’s Award during the annual awards ceremony at DeBakey High School.
Malcolm Morrow, a Your Black World Network contributor, is a senior, criminal justice major at The University of Southern Miss