When most people see 17-year-old Akintunde Ahmad, they find it hard to believe he has earned a 5.0 GPA, a 2100 SAT score and acceptance into almost every Ivy League school in the nation.
This is because Ahmad, who describes himself as a “street dude,” admits that he is often judged by his 6-foot-1 frame and waist-long dreads. In fact, the Oakland teen has been underestimated by his peers to the point where only cellphone images of his grades and test scores provide the most viable proof.
According to ABC, Ahmad — who attends Oakland Tech High in northern California — has been accepted into a number of prestigious schools including Yale, Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, the University of Southern California, UCLA and Howard, among others.
Aside from his exceptional academic record, Ahmad also plays three instruments and is a star athlete on his school’s baseball team. So much so, that he has even been approached by Yale about joining the university’s team.
“Every school he applied to is already Division 1, so he wasn’t taking a step down as far as baseball is concerned,” baseball coach Bryan Bassette told ABC.
Growing up in Oakland also exposed Ahmad to a street crime and cases of gun violence. One particular and unfortunate event involved his brother, Azeem, who invited him to a party one night that resulted in five people shot — one of them his brother.
Ahmad declined to attend and instead, chose to stay home to work on an essay.
“There’s plenty of people I know who have been killed,” Ahmad told SFGate.com. “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.”
Through it all, Ahmad’s hard work has served him well and his parents admire the humble attitude he continues to exemplify.
For now, Ahmad has narrowed down his choices to two schools and two fields of study. However, he remains undecided on whether he will attend Yale or Brown and whether he will pursue pre-med or pre-law.
Regardless, it’s clear this young man has a very promising future ahead of him.
Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works