How did you get to Columbus? My dad was going to school at Fort Valley and he went back home to Nigeria, while he was attending, and he met my mom. They got married then they had my brother, Ify, and then me.
When’s your birthday? Aug. 7, 1990
What are your parents’ names? Emmanuel and Florence. Both were born in Nigeria.
You’re all Catholic? Yes. I was baptized at Holy Family as a baby. For high school, I went to Carver and graduated in 2008.
Where are you in school now? The University of Maryland-Eastern Shore. I’m studying English (non-teaching). I’m about to be a junior. As a kid, I would draw all the time and write, and play basketball.
What do you see yourself doing, eventually? Maybe TV journalism.
Who are your role models? My mom. She exemplifies strength and she’s been through a lot and has risen above it.
Have you visited Nigeria? I’ve been three times and she’s been three times. And my brother went to school there for the summer. Now he’s started on his master’s at Columbus State, in criminal justice.
How does your church encourage you? The unity. I’ve known a lot of people there, since I was little. I still remember them. They have shown me so much love. Some people like to move from church to church but a lot of people I knew growing up are still there (at Holy Family).
Do you go to church at college? I do, but it’s not Catholic. I rarely have time for church. I also don’t have a car so the one closest is a Methodist church. I go there sometimes.
You’re also on the basketball team. Yes. I played at Carver for four years. I’ve always been a 5 — a center, like Shaquille O’Neal.
How tall are you? Six feet.
How’d you pick your school? I was on an AAU traveling team called the Blazers. We played out of town and out of state for recruiters. My coaches (at Maryland) saw me play in Tennessee and they called my coach and eventually my coach told me.
What do your parents do? My mom is a therapist, a counselor. She counsels and teaches at the University of Phoenix. She also subs in the public schools. My dad is in the process of building a restaurant in Nigeria, in the village he’s from, called Awka. He has to tend to it so he goes back and forth.
So most of your family is there? All of them, except for maybe 10 relatives in this country.
How was your dad able to come to Fort Valley? He told me his brother helped him. He was kind of a father figure. He got him into the U.S. There are better opportunities here.
The times you’ve been to Nigeria — what have you noticed as different than here? It’s fun. It’s more traditional. People take pride in their culture. For example, I was a bridesmaid for my cousin’s wedding. She had a traditional wedding and then a white wedding. The traditional wedding has more of the African influences.
What’s the religious makeup of Nigeria? It’s mostly Muslims and Christians.
What are you doing this summer? Since I play basketball, I work out constantly. I attended TAP (the Thompson-Pound Art Program) where I was a captain for the teen mentors. I visit with my friends. A lot of them are stil here. Some have gotten jobs, or joined the military.