A senior high school in Alabama has been accepted at more than 15 top universities and has awarded a total of more than $ 2 million to scholarship offers.
Rotimi Kukoyi has joined Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt and Duke universities, among others. Eventually, he decided to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he would study Health Policy and Management at the school’s prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship.
“With this scholarship, I can choose the path that is less traveled — the path that is not taken — and define my own journey. And let it all pay off, “Kukoyi wrote on Instagram last month. “At UNC, I hope to lay the foundation for a career that drives health equity in our country.”
Kukoyi, the child of Nigerian American immigrants, was the first Black National Merit Scholar at his school in Hoover, Alabama. He told ABC News he was inspired to apply to several schools after appearing on the “Jeopardy!” Teen tournament as a freshman in 2018 and contact with high-performing students from across the country.
“As a child of immigrants who came to the United States to ensure a better future for themselves and their children through the U.S. education system, I have always strived to graduate high school,” he said in a May Instagram post. post written.
“The hard work of the past 13 years has paid off, and I am incredibly optimistic about what lies ahead. I am grateful for the close relationships that have supported me during this journey, and I am excited to see my friends from afar continue to achieve success. ”
He wrote in another post that choosing a college “was the most painful thing I’ve ever done,” and after considering both Harvard and Yale, he settled on UNC because of the freedom that his scholarship program offers. would offer.
His decision to pursue a career in public health was inspired in part by the pandemic, he told ABC News. He wants his legacy to be about helping people, he said.
“COVID really flared up [my interest in public health] “It was the first time I really saw how clear the health inequalities were,” Kukoyi told ABC News. “African Americans had a much greater chance of dying from COVID than white Americans.
‘It was almost as if there were two separate pandemics affecting our nation, and we saw [some people] much more marginalized and influenced. ”