A Ghanaian-born star student at New York City’s Banana Kelly High School has attracted much applause and commendation upon graduating as the class valedictorian despite his struggle with a speech impediment and personality disorders. Four years after moving to the Bronx with his four siblings to live with his father, Emmanuel Ankomah has been revered as not only a brave and brilliant student but also an icon for Africa.
“I stutter day in and day out. Freshman year, it was kind of hard because I had to get accustomed to American education system. Every time I talk about where I live, they always question, like, how do I do it, like, how do I always come to school on time,” Ankomah revealed in his speech during the graduation ceremony.
Commenting on his overall academic performance and personal relations with students, school authorities describe the young Ghanaian academic as a model student and a role model to other immigrant students in the United States.
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“He is the model student. He’s here every single day. He’s helpful to his teachers. He tutors students. He works with staff. He does just about anything that he can do,” said principal Asya Johnson.
Emmanuel also has to his credit a handful of awards, including the student government president of 2016 and the most jaw-breaking “community service guru” award, which he earned for donating more than 500 volunteer hours. Recounting one of his greatest feats as a sophomore, Emmanuel explains how honoured he was to help build a school in Burkina Faso with a nonprofit as a sophomore.
“It was one of the most memorable moments of my life, to build a school and give back and to decrease the poverty rates,” he relished.
Hoping to become a neurosurgeon, brilliant Ankomah will be proceeding on a full scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to continue his education.