15 year old Saheela Ibraheem gains admission into Harvard


In a world dominated by online attention seeking ‘celebrities’, Harvard University newly intake is latest online media sensation. She is Saheela Ibraheem, 15 year old daughter of a Nigerian immigrant family living in New Jersey, United States.

Well, good Nigerian news is hard to come by these days, so here is one just in case you missed this last year.

Bright 15-year old Saheela Ibraheem

Since news broke about Saheela’s incredible acceptance to 13 of American’s prestigious Universities, local and International media have taken interests in the teen’s success story.

A source at Wardlaw-Hartridge high school, who fears that media interests in the young Nigerian-American is fast becoming overwhelming and could be a distraction during her upcoming exams told Nigerians Abroad Live that about a dozen media organizations are schedule for possible interviews with Saheela.

“She [Saheela] is amazing and because she is well spoken, media organizations wanted to have live interviews with her”

Back in Fall, 2010, Saheela applied to 14 schools that includes some of America’s Ivy Leagues. All, but Yale, offered her admissions. This includes, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Williams College, Stanford, University of Chicago, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Washington University in St. Louis and Harvard, which she settled on after a convincing visit to the university’s campus.

In an interview with My Fox, New York, Saheela’s mother, Shakirat, attributes her daughter’s academic success to her interest in learning and knowing more.

“When you teach her 1, 2, 3 but she want more,… When you teach her 1 through 5, she’d say how about this.”

Her dad, Sarafa, a graduate of Nigeria’s own ivy school, University of Ibadan, is a financial analyst and vice president at a major Financial group in New York. Besides her academic excellence, Saheela actively plays soccer, softball and the trombone.

“It is always joyful to hear that Nigerians are doing great things around the world regardless of how bad some international media tried to portray us. We Nigerians here in America are proud of Saheela and her parents,” Bukky Adekanbi, a  Nigerian residing in New York said.

“It all comes down to the support I’ve had at home, from my parents, even my brothers being there every step of the way,” said Saheela who plans to study neuroscience or neurobiology — scientific study of the nervous system.

I will add that  Nigerians have always had in them when it comes to academic brilliance. The unfortunate scenario is that would any of these near genius be allowed to contribute to the development in Nigeria? This is the sad aspect of  this otherwise elevating news.

The high school senior at Wardlaw-Hartridge private school wasn’t sure any university would want to admit a 15 year old, so she filled out applications to 14 schools with her grade point average (between a 96 and 97 on a 100- point scale) and her 2,340 SAT score (a perfect 800 on the maths section, a 790 in writing and a 750 in reading).

“Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders,” she said.

You can say that again Saheela. Do accept my congratulations.

[Source Nigerians Abroad]

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