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Ugandan student receives acceptance letters from 120 American colleges

In an extraordinary display of academic excellence, a Ugandan student has been accepted into a staggering 120 colleges and universities across the United States.

Helms Atekega
  • Achieved a remarkable 3.94 grade point average
  • Credits music for giving him the confidence to excel in academic realms
  • Received acceptance letter from UC Berkeley, a university with special significance for his family

Helms Atekega, aged 18, is a senior at Head Royce, a private high school in Oakland. He has achieved a remarkable 3.94 grade point average, making him a highly sought-after candidate among top institutions.

Atekega's journey to this impressive milestone began five years ago when he immigrated to the United States from Uganda. Despite the challenges of navigating a new culture and education system, Atekega has thrived, thanks in part to the unwavering support of his parents and grandparents.

"I feel very lucky that I was well-prepared. I had a wonderful guidance counselor and parents who were supportive of this whole process," Atekega said in an interview with US media this week.

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As he and his father, Chris Atekega, opened a suitcase filled with acceptance letters and scholarship offers, it was clear that this achievement was not just a testament to Atekega's hard work but also a tribute to the unwavering support of his family.

Atekega's passion for music has also played a significant role in his academic success. He has been singing for as long as he can remember and credits music with giving him the confidence to excel in all areas of his life.

"It gives me confidence in everything I've tried, in all the academic realms I'm interested in," Atekega said. "I definitely always come back to music and singing. That's sort of my safe haven."

Among the acceptance letters was one from UC Berkeley, a institution that holds special significance for Atekega's family. His father, Chris, is a graduate of UC Berkeley and a tech entrepreneur. However, Atekega was quick to note that his father did not influence his decision to attend the university.

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"I gave him encouragement to follow his dreams, not go to Berkeley specifically," Chris Atekega said.

Atekega plans to major in music and minor in global studies at UC Berkeley, a decision that aligns with his passion for music and his desire to make a positive impact on the world.

As he prepares to graduate from high school on June 8, Atekega offered words of wisdom to his peers: "Keep your head up, go for it, prevail, and don't let all the noise get to you."

In addition to his academic pursuits, Atekega is a member of the Pacific Boy Choir Academy in Oakland and plans to travel with the group to perform in Peru this summer. He will begin classes at UC Berkeley in mid-August.

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