My name is Akintunde Ahmad, and I am a senior at Oakland Technical High School. I am aware that many of you have heard about my story recently in the news. It is true, I am headed to one of the nations top universities, although I have not yet decided which one. However, at these schools my expected family contribution is still in the range of $17,000 to $28,000. That is why I would greatly appreciate any donations, as many people have expressed that they would like to help me with college tuition in any possible way. Below is a little excerpt that I wrote about myself and my experiences growing up in Oakland.
On January 13, 2013, an all too common event in Oakland, California hit home, my home. My brother, 20 years old at the time, asked if I wanted to accompany him to our god-sister's 25th birthday party. I told him that I could not go because I had an essay to finish for my honors English class. So he and my three family friends proceeded to the party. From my house, I could hear the shots, a daily echo heard throughout east Oakland. Each time I hear them, I pray that my family and friends are not on the receiving end of those bullets, but this time my prayers were not answered. At around 9, roughly five minutes after hearing the distant echoes, I got a call from my god-sister saying that all four of them had been shot multiple times. Luckily, all of them survived their injuries, but if it weren't for me staying home to do my homework, I may not have been so lucky. After this unfortunate event, I began to have a new outlook towards life. While this event could have deterred me from pursuing my goal of successfully completing college, I used this to fuel my desire for my higher education. I am the type of person that tries to find a positive message or lesson from everything, no matter how negative things may seem. The inconvenient truth is that seemingly catastrophic events such as this are actually quite normal for African American men in Oakland to experience, whether directly or through a family member. What makes me unique is how I responded to the event. I didn't seek revenge, or engage in a fit of rage that would further contribute to the violence in our city. Instead I realized that school directly saved my life, and education is truly the key to my success. My previously strong relationship with academics was further fortified because I felt that there was a message being sent to me that night; I am destined to do great things with my education. Not just for myself, but for my community. I do not plan to forget my past and leave the city that raised me behind. Instead, I will make Oakland a more positive place, with more positive outlets for young men and women, so that events like this become less common in Oakland. I am serious about making this change, and this school year, I began my education with a stronger desire for excellence, earning a 5.0 for the first marking period of my senior year. I plan to become a role model for generations to come, proving that Oakland can produce successful leaders of our future.
Thank you in advance,