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Nigerian teen gets 19 scholarship offers worth more than $5 million from the US and Canada

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One Nigerian teenager must feel like she has the world at her feet after receiving 19 full-ride scholarship offers from universities across the United States and Canada.

Victory Yinka-Banjo, a 17-year-old high school graduate, was offered more than $5 million dollars’ worth of scholarship money for an undergraduate program of study, according to admission documents and estimates of financial aid awards.

“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” Victory told CNN, relishing her academic prowess.

Born to Nigerian parents, Chika Yinka-Banjo, a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos, and Adeyinka Banjo, a private sector procurement and supply chain executive, Victory was given potential full scholarships from the Ivy League schools, Yale College, Princeton University, Harvard College, and Brown University.

 

The teenager told CNN that her multiple scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”

Other US scholarship offers included those from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Virginia.

In Canada, Victory was offered the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship from the University of British Columbia.

“Their admissions processes are extremely selective,” Victory added. “They only accept the best of the best. So, you can imagine how, on a daily basis, I have to remind myself that I actually got into these schools. It is surreal!”

Academic strides

A senior prefect during her time in high school, Victory rose to national prominence in late 2020 after she scored straight As in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

Months earlier, the Nigerian teen had been rated as the “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE). Victory aced the Cambridge IGCSE exam — acquiring A* in all six subjects she sat for.

 

 

Victory told CNN her remarkable achievements are borne out of hard work.

“They have made me truly feel proud about the hard work I have put into several areas of my life over the years. I am slowly beginning to realize that I deserve them,” she said.

The teenager remarked that her multiple scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”

Victory said she hopes to study Computational Biology. However, she is still weighing up her options on which school to choose, having been wooed by many prestigious institutions.

“I am still doing research on some schools that are at the top of my list, like Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, Johns Hopkins, and just trying to compare and contrast all of them thoroughly,” she told CNN.

An inspiration to Nigerian youth

Victory’s mother, Chika, says her daughter’s story could inspire other young Nigerians.

 

 

“It is noteworthy that she is not one of the Nigerian-Americans who often get into these schools because of their advantage of being born and bred in the US. She completed her secondary school here [in Nigeria]. It would be great if her story can be used to inspire the youths of our country,” she told CNN.

Victory credits her academic success story to faith, parental guidance and discipline. She currently spends some of her free time tutoring other university admission seekers — through the radio — on key subjects such as math, English language, biology, chemistry and physics.

This article originally appeared on  CNN and is published here for educational purpose

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Sallu Kamuskay

Sallu Kamuskay is a Sierra Leonean activist, storyteller, and blogger. He was born in Sierra Leone but later relocated to Guinea as a refugee because of the war in his country. Sallu Kamuskay uses his phone to engage on social media, under the name ‘’Salone Messenger’. He Co-Founded the Salone Messenger platform after his experience of the war, Ebola, and injustices. According to him, silence was the root cause of war, and of many social injustices, we continue to face as a nation. In 2013, during the Ebola crisis, Sallu Kamuskay took the risk and volunteered to fight Ebola. He spent some months in both safe and unsafe places; helping the victims and telling their sad stories. The election in 2018, left a divided country with communities fighting on tribal lines. This inspired Sallu Kamuskay to serve as the coordinator of the United Sierra Leone peace concert, which was organized in 4 major parts of the country, targeting violent communities and troubled youth. Sallu Kamuskay led a group of entertainers, activists, and organizations across the country on a peace tour, a program supported by the European Union, United Sierra Leone, Africa Union, ECOWAS, and the Messeh Leone Trust. Sallu Kamuakay has also served as a staff writer for the Hidden Voices Magazine.
Over the years, Sallu Kamuskay has been using his Techno phone to be able to tell stories, the phone he used to tell the story of Gbessay during Ebola who was admitted at one of the Ebola treatment centers after rumors that she had Ebola when the actual sickness was ulcer, she was almost abandoned at the treatment canter with no medication provided to her. She could have died. Sallu told the story via social media and was able to secure funding from the United Sierra Leone to buy her medication and advocated for her. She was later discharged and taken home, He did the same to a patient that died and was abandoned in the street, Sallu Kamuskay used his phone and shared the message across, the corps was later taken and buried. It could have been more disaster without his voice. The story of late America Stress 3-year-old daughter. The hero’s daughter was abandon after his father's death. He shared her sad story and was able to get a sister who has taken the child as her own and is currently providing her with educational support. The article of America Stress can be read on the link below http://ayvnewspaper.com/index.php/k2-categories/item/7350-america-stress-a-hero-to-recognize.
Sallu Kamuskay feels the stories of Gbessay, America stress and that of many others need to be told. The media house we have cannot better tell these stories, they are better reporters than telling human interest stories. He created the Salone Messenger platform and brought together passionate storytellers to be able to tell these compelling stories.

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