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Oakland senior has a 5.0 GPA; scored 2100 on SAT

 
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sexyandfamous View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 5:53pm

Oakland senior's mark of success: top college admissions


  • Akintunde Ahmad's 5.0 GPA, SAT and AP scores caught the eye of an array of highly selective colleges. Photo: Michael Short, The Chronicle

When Akintunde Ahmad walked into the library at Oakland Technical High School to talk to Yale University recruiters making their annual East Bay stop in January, some of the other student hopefuls turned and stared.

With dreadlocks draping his shoulders, and his 6-foot-1 frame in the sweatpants and T-shirt he had thrown on after baseball practice, it sure may have seemed like this guy was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But 'Tunde, as he is called by friends and family, was right where he was supposed to be.

The 17-year-old Oak Tech senior received an acceptance letter from Yale last week to prove it. He also has offers from Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA, Howard, Chapman, Cal Poly and Cal State East Bay, and has been waitlisted by UC Berkeley and Georgetown.

"People looking at me funny is so common that it doesn't stick out for me anymore," says Akintunde, who has a 5.0 GPA and scored 2100 (out of 2400) on the SAT. "It's something that I've gotten used to."

Young and strong, athletic and African American, 'Tunde describes himself like "any other street dude on 98th Avenue," the neighborhood where he grew up and lives. Perhaps that's why he has often been overlooked and underestimated - and left alone to quietly go about his business.

"I'll leave this school and there will be teachers who never knew I was one of the people on the honor roll," he said.  Shocked

He's met private-school students who've suggested that his achievements are the result of easy classes and a low bar for academics at public schools. He doesn't need to defend his GPA, or his appearance on the honor roll for every semester that he's been in high school. Instead he prefers comparing SAT and AP scores, and that usually shuts them up.Clap

'No private tutors'

"Oakland public schools all the way through," he says, jokingly pounding a fist to his breast. "No private tutors or private schools. This is strictly OUSD."

He's one of six children raised by his parents, Zarina and Mubarak Ahmad, who are, dare I say it, a stereotypical American family. 'Tunde's mother, Zarina, is an educator who began her career as an Oakland schoolteacher. She is now the principal at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School. His father, Mubarak, has worked as a mechanic at AC Transit for 20 years.

The family practices the Rastafari religion - and it's why 'Tunde wears dreads. He's never had a haircut in his life, Mubarak Ahmad said. The family has worked hard to raise all their children right, instill in them good values and encourage them to steer clear of trouble.

Like many responsible parents, they are willing to work for however long it takes, sacrifice everything, to ensure their kids can enjoy a better life than they have.

With 'Tunde, encouragement wasn't necessary, because he did things without being asked, on his own initiative - a trait he has always had.

"I've never tried to cross any boundaries or anything like that," 'Tunde said. "I'm just good at following directions, and no good ever comes from challenging a Parental Unit."

Despite their best efforts, 'Tunde's parents were not able to steer their older son, Azeem, away from the dangers awaiting a young African American man on the streets of Oakland.

Father's advice

"I've always told my boys that it's very easy to get into trouble, but very hard to get out of it," Mubarak Ahmad said.

Mubarak Ahmad worried about Azeem. And silently, so did 'Tunde.

Mubarak warned Azeem that a person he was hanging out with would one day get him caught up in trouble, and sadly, he was right.

In 2012, Azeem was caught carrying guns to be used in an Oakland stash house robbery that turned out to be a federal sting operation. He was convicted on conspiracy charges and shipped off to a federal prison in March 2013, sentenced to 41 months.

"We got the same mother, the same father, just a different path," 'Tunde said. "I feel like it's a setback for him, but sometimes it takes that kind of shock to grab your attention."

'Tunde's got an old man's brain working in a young man's body, and while he may sound bookish, he's anything but one-dimensional.

He's a student-athlete who played basketball for three years - until deciding to focus solely on baseball this year. He was the MVP of the Oakland Athletic League baseball in 2013, hitting around .500 with 15 or so stolen bases. He expects to play baseball where ever he goes to college next fall.

He's a member of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, and plays trumpet, French horn and the djembe - a West African drum.

His work ethic is as much a part of him as an extremity, and his commitment to his time-management regimen may have saved his life.

In January 2013, two months before his brother was incarcerated, 'Tunde declined an invitation from Azeem to hang out at a friend's house because he had an essay due for school. At that house, five people were shot, including his brother, who suffered two gunshot wounds.

"There's plenty of people I know who have been killed," he said. "I could write a list starting in elementary school of all the people we grew up with who have been killed."

"I could have easily been caught up in that life. You don't have to be a bad person to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Fortunately, 'Tunde has so far shown impeccable timing, both on the baseball field and in the classroom.

Besides playing some baseball, he plans to go into pre-med or pre-law.

"That's what I'm thinking, but I'm still undecided," he said.



Edited by sexyandfamous - Apr 19 2014 at 5:54pm
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liesnalibis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote liesnalibis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:03pm
Congrats! 

It says he's African American, but his name and his parents' names make me wonder how far back. It seems non American blacks tend to excel higher than American blacks. I know the reasons for it but I'm just wondering because they made a point to say he's African American.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote Sang Froid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:05pm
He needs to take his ass to Howard.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote ThatGurlD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:05pm
I honestly didn't know it was common knowledge that Africans tend to excel higher that AAs.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote sexyandfamous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:14pm
What I liked about this article was that it focused on who he is, not on where he was accepted.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sexyandfamous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:15pm
@Sang, funny you say that, because meanwhile, at the College of Charleston......


""I, Too, AM COFC" is a Black Student Union campaign inspired by Harvard University's "I, TOO, AM Harvard." Our intent is to grab the attention of students, faculty, and administrators to the ongoing diversity related issues on our campus, including our college's presidential search. These issues have been overlooked, or simply gone unnoticed. With the "I, TOO, AM COFC" campaign, we are demanding attention and we are demanding action, because 6% percent is simply not enough. Focus needs to be put on recruitment and especially retention. We do not feel welcomed at the College of Charleston and Black Student Union desires a campus that is inclusive and welcoming to ALL students. Here are our struggles."
































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bindy View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (14) Thanks(14)   Quote bindy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:19pm
"Instead he prefers comparing SAT and AP scores, and that usually shuts them up."Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (3) Thanks(3)   Quote sexyandfamous Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 6:24pm
^^^^^^I loved that! Some people always underestimate your value and education; I am glad that he beats them without putting his hands on them: just a look at his SAT score and they are like
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (4) Thanks(4)   Quote mzsophisticated Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 7:36pm
I would love to see some of those CAC faces when he shows his SAT scores....this is awesome he is a well rounded young man
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (7) Thanks(7)   Quote ThABxBoRoUgH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 19 2014 at 8:58pm
I actually met him 2 weeks ago when he visited my university! Such a sweet kid. My friends and I totally creeped up on him (we're graduate students) and told him that we were proud of his achievements. He seemed really gracious.

 I did ask if he was Nigerian and he said its a bit complicated. He is African American and I think his family maybe/thinks/knows that they are of Nigerian descent amongst other things. Nonetheless, he is bomb and I hope he chooses to come to my school Cool

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