17-Year-Old Akintunde Ahmad Defies Odds And Detractors With 5.0 GPA, 2100 SAT Score And Ivy Leagues Knocking

51 comments
April 8, 2014 ‐ By

Akintunde Ahmad

While we’ve been lauding the stories of Kwasi Enin and Avery Coffey, there’s another young man also defying the odds who should join the young league of extraordinary gentlemen. His name is Akintunde Ahmad, and he’s from Oakland. The 17-year-old with his locs and laid back attitude might say that he’s just an ordinary dude from the city, but he’s actually out here doing amazing things. The amazing things include getting a 2100 on his SAT, sustaining a 5.0 GPA and recently being accepted to quite a few Ivy League schools, including Yale, Brown and Columbia. In an interview with the ABC affiliate in San Francisco, the Oakland public school student (via Oakland Tech High) said that the encouragement of friends and family has kept him on the straight and narrow path:

“Like, my whole life, people have been telling me to stay on this path and everything will fall, the cards will fall like you want them to.”

But Ahmad says like many black youths, he’s been judged for his appearance. However, he says that at this point, it’s not something that bothers him anymore. He had this to say to the San Francisco Chronicle:

“People looking at me funny is so common that it doesn’t stick out for me anymore. It’s something that I’ve gotten used to. I’ll leave this school and there will be teachers who never knew I was one of the people on the honor roll.”

But if ask about his honor roll status and grades, Ahmad will show you his outstanding report card, which he keeps a screenshot of in his phone. Hey, if you were a straight-A student, you might do the same. But Ahmad’s mother, Zarina Ahmad, says that her son is an extremely humble young man, relaying a conversation they had about his SAT scores, which he tried to keep to himself:

“‘Son, when are you getting you scores, when?’ He said, ‘Oh I got it back.’ I said, ‘How did you do?’ ‘Well, now I have a 2100. I’m like, ‘Wow! When were you going to tell me?'”

Also an athlete excelling on the baseball field, Yale has approached Ahmad about attending and playing for the university. He says he’s now deciding between Yale and Brown, but whatever school he chooses will be quite lucky to have a young man like him strutting through the halls.

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  • Jesunifemi

    His weighted average is a 5.0 even though he has 2 A-‘s and takes one non-AP class….. I’m not exactly sure how the school weighs GPA’s, but that doesn’t seem right. I’m not trying to diminish his success, I just think there shouldn’t be an emphasis on his 5.0 GPA, as opposed to the other high achieving African Americans, since each school weighs these things differently. If Kwasi or Avery were to go to this school, they’d probably have 5.0’s as well.

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  • pinebeetle

    This is great, the fact that he is an athlete makes the difference though. Unfortunately, that’s the way the game is played in the Ivies.

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  • Soraya Em

    Both of his parents are African American.
    A lot of “Afro centric” black Americans adopt African names.
    Keep your ignorance to yourself. You should be celebrating the fact that a black male has done outstanding work rather than trying to play “us against them”.

    • Obsidian71

      His mother would have had an accent had she been Nigerian born and bred. Though I support my African brothers and sisters even though their nationalism creeps out and manifests in that “divide and conquer” bs.

  • AbigailTea

    Good news like this goes to show you that we cannot use racism as an excuse for failure. Look at this wonderful example.
    He and many other successful intelligent black students out there are proof that “the white man” isn’t holding us back from success.
    As my black High-school teacher always use to tell us: “White people are not stopping you from graduating”. It is the truth
    We will see more greatness like him until we end the cycle of victim mentality.

  • Lola

    Love how this article makes no mention of the fact that this young man is Nigerian. If he had murdered someone or committed fraud or something, headline would have read “Nigerian born teen”

    • straight_up

      No, he’d probably be called black or African American. I’ve never heard/seen the media distinguish among native blacks and black immigrants. You’re sensationalizing.

  • dude where’s my car

    Pure awesomeness. These are the people we should be celebrating everyday. Well done young man.

  • soisaid

    WoW… what a great story. i know its more kids out there like him thats not getting their story told but congrats to them as well. i love stories like these…

  • Rahimatu

    Yess Honey!! Strong Black men in the making. This is the kind of positive stories the media should be reporting majority of the time, not just the negatives all the time.

    • straight_up

      strong black man in the making unless he chooses to marry a white woman. I hope he doesn’t join the long and impressive list of black male fools past and present that fell on the proverbial sword of black man’s kryptonite. This is my hope and wish for the brother.

  • prettyredbone

    Congrats!!! I LOVE seeing black people achieve!!

  • just sayn

    Very Smart kid and I thought I did well with a Gpa of 4.0 and making the Deans list. This young man is verrrrryyyyyy smart. Great JOB!

  • YoungAfrique

    Come to Brown!!!!

  • Patricia

    Congrats to that young man. It would be nice if he would consider going to a HBCU. (Please don’t laugh. These are great schools.) But that is fine if he decide to go to one of those schools as long he is going somewhere. Congrats to him. MadameNoire, keep this stories coming about positive blacks.

  • Laide Lawal

    Africans are DOING IT! Kwesi from Ghana and this kid “Akintunde” sounds Nigerian! #Proudly African; Proudly Nigerian!

    • 1Val

      These young men are African Americans. Kwesi is first generation American with parents from Ghana. Akintunde is American also.

      • JustCuz

        But are likely products of African parenting

        • IJS

          Exactly, that have a different standard, expectation, and commitment regarding their children’s academic excellence than most African “American” parents (some who still find it an inconvenience to attend parent/teacher session).

          • 1Val

            Hold up and wait just a freaking minute!!!! I see some of “us” have swallowed the Kool-Aid without noticing the flavor of divide and conquer among African and African Americans.

            If my memory serves me correctly, it was African Americans who were enslaved, toiled to build this great nation while serving as mainstream America’s conscience for human rights. In fact, African American civil rights movement inspired Pan Africanism to many colonial subjugated rule African nations.

            Last I check when a black man is racial profile no one bothers to asks if he is American born or African immigrant. In other words, African and African American are synonymous with being BLACK!!!

            Although I identify myself as African American not black American because my ancestral homeland of Africa belongs to me as much as it does a native born African others do not. Throughout my travels abroad I encountered nationalism more so than racism for others disbelieved I was African because I would have been too impoverished to travel the globe nor was I American since many consider only whites to be American.

            Nonetheless kudos to this young man and his parents for striving for excellence. Shame on you and others attempting to mar this young man’s accomplishment with bigotry.

          • 1Val

            Hold up and wait just a freaking minute!!!! I see some of “us” have swallowed the Kool-Aid without noticing the flavor of divide and conquer among African and African Americans.

            If my memory serves me correctly, it was African Americans who were enslaved, toiled to build this great nation while serving as mainstream America’s conscience for human rights. In fact, African American civil rights movement inspired Pan Africanism to many colonial subjugated African nations.

            Last I check when a black man is racial profile no one bothers to asks if he is American born or African immigrant. In other words, African and African American are synonymous with being BLACK!!!

            Although I identify myself as African American not “black” (for snotty Africans attempting to disassociate themselves from African Americans) American because my ancestral homeland of Africa belongs to me as much as it does a native born African others do not see it that way. Throughout my travels abroad, I encountered nationalism more so than racism for others disbelieved I was African because I would have been too impoverished to travel the globe nor did they believe I am American since many consider only whites to be American.

            Nonetheless kudos to this young man and his parents for striving for excellence. Shame on you and others attempting to mar this young man’s accomplishment with bigotry.

            • O.J.N.

              I think there may be a misunderstanding here. By no means does anyone want to disregard the contributions African Americans have made to this country. The cultural appropriation alone is very evident in today’s society. What the previous posters are referring to is the upbringing of many African immigrants and first generation Americans born to African immigrants. When it comes to academic achievements, African parents are known to be very strict or expect a great deal from their children.

              Take for example, a child coming home with a test that has the letter grade B+. Many parents would see that as a good grade and willingly sign the child’s test and send them on their way. However, an African parent will most likely be unsatisfied: “Why did you get a B+?” “Didn’t [insert name of student with the highest achievement in class] get an A+?” “Does he/she have two heads???” It’s strict but it is often the main reason why so many of these children attain huge academic success. This along with many other differences in upbringing is what defines ‘African parenting’ and being children of African parents.

              And as for the experiences from traveling abroad, I sympathize with you and hope that this was not the highlight of your trip, but must also acknowledge that the same feeling of displacement can be said for African immigrants AND their children born in this country. I can’t tell you the number of times I was made fun of as a child for the way my parents would dress me or because my MOTHER had a heavy accent. This done in an effort to indicate that I am ‘different’. Even as an adult, some folks will try and imitate her accent as a jest.

              Pointing out that these young men are of Nigerian or Ghanaian descent is just expressing the pride that we have been taught to have for being who we are and being raised the way we were. It is the same pride that our extended families share in our native countries and helps spark a willingness to preserve our cultures, here in this country and others, for future generations.

              • IJS

                OJN. Thanks for very skillfully articulating my point. First, 1Val assumed that I was “african” and secondly, throwing shade on “african americans” – neither is relevant. I’m actually a multi-degree’d educator from inner city Chicago that sees this cultural distinction daily in my schools. The parents from an African or 1st generation African family will have intense discussions with me AND their child for a B+ (same for my Asian students) b/c they completely understand the child’s potential and want to see it realized. HOWEVER, when i remind my AA parents about an upcoming parent/teacher session to discuss their child’s progress…..or when I solicit their attention to a character/behavioral issue….I AM the one accused of throwing “shade” on their kid’s dreams. How ridiculous!! My point was to highlight – and advocate – the obvious involvement of these kid’s parents in their academic development achievement.

                I’m the product of an era where educators and parents were partners in my academic development.

                • 1Val

                  What I find ridiculous is your assertion that today’s AA parents are disengaged from their children’s education. You choose to highlight AA parents who fail to parent their children rather than acknowledge parents who do. You went so far to suggest that AA children lack morals and character. You have employed multiple stereotypes of AA as stupid, immoral and apathetic students. I would hate to be an AA child in your class being taught by a bias and bigoted educator. I’m certain that you were the product of an era where educators respected their students and parents which enabled them to foster their children’s academic development. You are prime example of why more AA parents should be helicopter parents hovering around their children’s schools.

              • 1Val

                I do not take offense to African or immigrants high expectations of their children. However, I take offense with implication that ALL AA parents do not have ANY expectations or standards for their children. Parents desiring and demanding the best for their children is an example of good parenting not cultural conditioning or biases. I shared my experience of nationalism to illustrate commonality people of diaspora share. Others ignorance certainly was not the highlight of my expatriate experience. I too am proud of this young man and his parents. The fact that his parents are Africans is immaterial to me but the fact that he is black like me makes me extremely proud.

            • straight_up

              Not to mention that Africans owe a debt of gratitude to African Americans for their azzes to even be allowed to come to American soil. Prior to the civil rights movement and the related immigration and naturalization act of 1965, white America were NOT letting black immigrants into this country en masse. Only European immigrants were welcomed with open arms. It was African Americans that fought for a more equitable immigration policy that included blacks from the islands and Africa. How soon we forget.
              On top of that, it was also African Americans (e.g., entertainers, politicians and activists) that shed light on the brutalities of european colonialism in Africa (e.g. apartheid). We are the ones who championed the boycotts and raised consciousness to the oppression that ultimately let to of the release of Mandela and the liberation of the people continent-wide. So it pisses me off when Africans come here and want to look down their noses like they are better, when they are not. I have a lot of respect for our African relatives, but they must realize that they owe the opportunities they have now to both the struggle and support of African Americans. Show some respect and gratitude.

              • 1Val

                Co-signed!

        • Paul Cooley

          His parents didnt migrate here dumb dumb, I know the family. They are not African, they are just black americans

    • chy

      PROUDLY AFRICAN, PROUDLY NIGERIAN. GOOD JOB.

      • Paul Cooley

        He’s not Nigerian though but Im glad you’re proud LMAO

    • Soraya Em

      No no. Akintunde is 100 percent african american.

      Both of his parents are African American.
      A lot of “Afro centric” black Americans adopt African names.
      Keep your ignorance to yourself. You should be celebrating the fact that a black male has done outstanding work rather than trying to play “us against them”.

    • Paul Cooley

      HIS PARENTS ARENT IMMIGRANTS! THEY ARE NATIVE TO THE US SORRY!

  • Chas

    That’s Beautiful I love these kinds of stories!!!

  • Trisha_B

    Congrats to him!! & when i hear stories like this, all i can think/say is “What’s your excuse?” Here you have these boys that have all the odds against them & they bust their behinds in school to be something. Put your mind to it, it will happen

  • Kristen

    SO glad this is being reported. Congrats to him!

  • thatguy0101

    I like this, but why do people act like black kids havent been doing this before and this is a new phenomenon?? Boy oh boy, the power of the media… I know plenty of my black ex-colleagues that scored high on the SAT and left high school with a 4.0. BUT, you know how it goes…..the media will do EVERYTHING in there power to brainwash white people and other races to think black people are ALLL the same; like we are all some thugs, baby making, no job-having dummies.. smh its sad because I’ve seen more positive and healty and productive black peope vs. the opposite in my life but congrats to the young man..

    • sasha

      i’d rather people do this than ignore the success of young BM and BW. if people do this enough then it wont be “shocking”

  • guest510

    I rarely comment on post but I just couldn’t resist. Oakland stand up! I am SO proud of this young man. You only hear about Oakland when it has to do with some horrible crime but there are many of us from Oakland that beat the odds. I grew up in East Oakland and am one of a few in my inner circle who has earned a Master’s degree. The rest of my friends are college graduates. My only hope is that he goes back to his community and shows other young, Black men that they can aspire to be more than just a rapper or ball player.

    • PositiveBlackStories

      Congratulations on your Master’s Degree, you too are an inspiration for your city!!

      • guest510

        Thank you! I really appreciate that

  • sasha

    Congrats to him, also shows you don’t have to be rocking the urkel or carleton look to be a smart young BM!!

    • Guestest

      ^^ Love this!!!

  • CalypsoCandy

    I love when there is reporting on the achievements of our Black youth. Thank you.

    • 1Val

      Co-signed! What a great story!