An exemplary student from Queensborough Community College, in Bayside, can add scholarship winner to his long list of academic accomplishments.
Oluwadamisi Atanda is now called Kay by fellow students at QCC after a peer had trouble pronouncing Kunle, the middle name he was known by when first enrolling at school.
“ ... After about 12 failed attempts, he decided to go with the first letter of my name ‘K’ and since then, ‘Kay’ has stuck,” Atanda said.
Atanda, 19, who now lives in Springfield Gardens, was born in New York City but raised in Nigeria, amid what he describes as very vibrant, diverse and good-spirited people.
He attended high school in the port city of Lagos, the country’s most populated metropolis, where he spoke English before coming to the United States; it’s the country’s official language and is widely spoken in his native region.
Despite increasing educational challenges around him, such as constant power outages, political disharmony and the lack of what many Westerners take for granted — having access to fast- speed Internet for academic resources, Atanda strived to work hard continuously as a student. He believes one’s past doesn’t determine one’s future.
“Although my high school education was very theoretical and lacked hands-on practice and technology, I enjoyed my stay and wouldn’t change anything about it,” Atanda said.
While in high school, he also served as the student body president in his last year. It’s this time that he attributes to learning vital leadership skills that he now draws upon as a college student.
Atanda is enrolled in QCC’s Honor Program, is president of the Student Government Association, participates in the school’s Mock Trial team and was named to the dean’s list in Fall 2011. He has now been chosen for the First Team on the All-New York Academic Team of Phi Theta Kappa, the official honor society for community colleges.
Upon learning of his latest achievement, he couldn’t help but smile “almost all week.”
Atanda was also appointed a 2012 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. This academic recognition includes a monetary award, $1,250, which he will put toward his tuition to a four-year college when he transfers. He hopes to go to New York University.
“Receiving this award emphasizes the fact that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed and that committing to one’s academics truly does pay off,” he said.
The academic scholar is currently in Austria for a week-long work-study abroad program called the 2012 Salzburg Global Seminar.
He was selected to attend this prestigious event at no cost, courtesy of QCC’s foundation, the Queensborough Community College Fund. The program focuses on globalization and global citizenship, which are all of interest to Atanda, who aspires to one day become secretary-general of the United Nations.
Aside from all his collegiate accolades, this top-notch student can serve as an example to others, even outside the classroom.
“Above all, I strive to live my life and develop my character as a man of purpose, humanity and care,” Atanda said.