Chaminade High School senior Jude Okonkwo, 17, of Dix Hills, has been accepted into programs at all eight Ivy League institutions – Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania and Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities.
“It’s a tremendous honor to gain acceptance to all eight Ivy League schools,” said Okonkwo, pictured above with Brother Thomas Cleary, S.M., Chaminade president.
Okonkwo has not yet chosen a school to attend, but believes Harvard may be the best fit in his pursuit of a medical degree. “Tragedies occur in everyday life, and I want to be someone who can help a person and their family heal in their times of need,” Okonkwo said.
The inspiration to follow a path to healthcare began early for Okonkwo. The parents, Nigerian immigrants, settled in New Orleans. Okonkwo was six years old when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana coast and devastated the region. “Hospitals were severely impacted by the storm while so many people needed so much help,” Okonkwo recalled. “It motivated me to serve as a summer lifeguard for the disabled after we moved to New York. My parents enrolled me in swimming lessons after seeing the powerful flood waters Katrina brought ashore, and I realized I could use swimming to help people.”
Okonkwo serves as the president of the Chaminade Glee Club, editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, an editor for the newspaper, participates on the varsity track team, and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has also written and self-published a book titled “A Journey through Poetry” that is available on Amazon.
“My Chaminade experience has offered me opportunities in leadership that were integral in preparation for college and the entry process,” Okonkwo explained. “Most importantly, the Catholic formation I received here allowed me the chance to grow into a complete man, and grow closer to God.”
“Jude is a model Chaminade Man – a man who does the right thing at the right time because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of who is watching,” Brother Thomas said. “We cannot wait to see the incredible things Jude will continue to do with his life. He has already stunned us with his remarkable talent and compassion for his fellow man. Our Chaminade family will remain with him every step of the way.”