Victor Agbafe will start college this fall at Harvard. But before he made the decision, he pulled off a rare feat: Getting accepted to all eight Ivy League universities.
Agbafe was one of just seven students in the nation to make a clean sweep of the Ivies this year. Many of them, including Agbafe, are the children of immigrants
Agbafe credits his parents, who are from Nigeria, for surrounding him with a strong support system to succeed. “This is a culmination of the time and dedication that my parents, my teachers and members of my community have put in to me throughout my years — from when I was just a baby until this day,” says the high school senior from Wilmington, North Carolina. “I really owe it all to them.”
So we asked Victor to elaborate more on the role of his parents and to share how being the son of immigrants shaped him as both a student and a person.
The most important piece of advice my parents ever gave me was the the fact that the decisions I make today will have an impact on who I become tomorrow, and to always make sure to look out not only for yourself but for others as well. So this was the idea: That with every decision that I make, every single day, I am possibly expanding my opportunities moving into the future or I am closing them. So it is very important to do my very best in everything, ranging from my school work to making sure to treat others with kindness, respect and compassion.
The second part of this advice really is rooted in the idea that to truly live out your personal faith or to abide to your moral compass, you must be willing to exude it how you give back to the world around you. This means standing up for individuals you feel are being picked on or hurt on a daily basis and when you see that one person who seems like they are lonely or hurting, to make sure to reach out to them as you should be an ally to help lift others up.
Words of wisdom
I would advise other first-and-second-generation students to know that the sky is just the beginning. You can't limit yourself and you must be willing to take advantage of all of the opportunities available to you, not only to better yourself but to enable yourself with the tools to give back to your family, community and the greater world around you. Also, don't forget your roots and what makes you unique as it is part of what inextricably defines who you are.
What he's learned
Being the son of immigrants, first of all, taught me the great value of an education and how much all the components of an education are to be respected and adored. I know how when I visit my grandmother she always emphasizes the great value of an education and how it should give someone something positive to take pride in.
When I was in fifth grade, I remember her saying "You see your textbook and your backpack, that should be the only type of love or girlfriend you have , apart from that you have for your mother."
So, as the child of immigrants, I really respect the great value of an education and all of the opportunities it can create.
His parents' lesson about giving back was at the heart of Victor's college admissions essay, which focuses on today's societial injustices. For Victor, one of those injustices was watching the pushback by some classmates to a day of silence in support of the LGBTQ community at their school. Watch him read his essay in full below: