Collin Mokua Miruka had a normal day in high school on March 30 or at least tried to make it one. At the back of his mind however, he knew that this day would make or break him.
At about 5pm CST (1am Kenyan time), he was going to find out if he had been accepted to any of his preferred schools which included Ivy League schools.
The Harmony Science Academy –Dallas senior studied for his Advanced Placement (AP) exams and headed home to await the results.
He had already received acceptance offers from prestigious schools around the US including Washington University in St. Louis Missouri and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He however still had his eyes on an Ivy League school.
When he got home in Wylie, Texas, it was almost time and so he logged on to his laptop in readiness.
When the results were finally posted, he logged into the websites of each of the Ivy League schools he had applied to. After a couple of rejections from Harvard, Yale and Princeton, Mokua was dejected and his dream of attending an Ivy League school was quickly fading before his very eyes.
Feeling downcast, he logged into the Columbia University website expecting the final dagger to his hopes.
But it was not to be. It was indeed the moment he had been waiting for. Instead of a rejection notice, a welcome video popped up congratulating him on being accepted to the campus and welcoming him to the Ivy League school.
Dejection turned into disbelief followed by instant jubilation.
“Mum! Mum! I made it,â€? Mokua yelled as he went to look for his mother who was in another part of the house at the time. “I can’t believe it. I made it to Ivy League school!.â€?
His mum Sophia Bosibori Miruka was not convinced at first and asked to see the laptop which he was holding. She too couldn’t keep it together. They both continued screaming in joy.
Mokua’s father Hezekiah Miruka Ontita was in awe of his son. He joined the family celebrations before they started calling their relatives to relay the news.
Prior to this day, Mokua had already plotted his career path and had settled on becoming a neurosurgeon. In High School, he interned at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas where he shadowed doctors in the areas of imaging, CT scan, Nuclear medicine and PET/CT Imaging. He shadowed three doctors and three medical students during the internship.
In late May, he graduated at the top of his class and he was picked to deliver the valedictorian speech. The speech is delivered by the student having the highest academic achievements of the graduating class.
In the well received speech, he expressed his gratitude to his parents and thanked them for their dedication to his success and those of his siblings.
Outside of his academics, he had served as the president of the student council, he was a member and treasurer of the National Honor Society and was a member of the School’s math team among other leadership positions.
Between 2013 and 2017, he had racked up seven awards which included North Texas Regional Math Olympiad Runner-Up which he was awarded in 2013 and 2015; Distinguished Honor Roll (2014-2016); National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Award of Excellence (2014) and The National Society of High School Scholars (2014) among others.
In 2015, he was invited to the Global Youth Summit on the Future of Medicine representing the state of Texas. It is here where he developed a keen interest in becoming a neurosurgeon after meeting two doctors who worked in the field.
“After listening to those two neurosurgeons, I knew that is what I wanted to be,â€? Mokua told Jambonewspot.com.
As Mokua prepares to attend Columbia, he is excited at what the future holds for him. He is excited at the thought of learning more about how the human brain works.
He hopes he will make a difference in the field and that he will soar high.
Mokua moved to the US from Kenya in 2011. He is a former student of Imperial Academy in Kisii County.
Collins Mokua’s Valedictorian speech in May 2017