May 25, 2018
Boluwatife “Precious” Adekanye, 2018 salutatorian, Northwest Community High School.
Boluwatife “Precious” Adekanye said the best way for her to honor the sacrifices she and her family have endured over the past several years was to achieve something big.
“I figured the only way to make them proud was to be the best in all I do, be it academics or extracurricular activities. I have studied hard in all my years in high school and made sure to take education seriously,” said Boluwatife, who is graduating June 7 with a 4.02 GPA and as salutatorian of Northwest Community High School’s Class of 2018.
Just three years ago, she and her family moved from Nigeria, Africa, to Indianapolis, during Boluwatife’s sophomore year. The relocation presented challenges for the teen — including the culture shock of coming to a new country, adapting to a new way of living and meeting and connecting with new people.
“I left my family and friends for the hope of a better life,” said Boluwatife. “I have had to learn to speak a certain way and just try harder so I couldn’t be looked down on.”
School was a big part of her integration into American culture. In addition to the friends she made in the halls and classrooms at Northwest, she found a place on the volleyball and tennis teams, as well as joining the National Honor Society and the Junior ROTC Drill and Raiders team. In the larger community, Boluwatife also teaches Sunday school at her church.
She credits her favorite teacher at Northwest, Genevieve McLeish-Petty, for helping to make that transition easier. Her support and willingness to help boosted Boluwatife’s confidence and was a crucial part of her success.
“She has been literally the best human since I first had her my sophomore year,” said Boluwatife. “She not only believes in me, she makes me believe in myself. Whenever I am uncertain about the future, she reassures me, and she has helped me with all my college applications and scholarships.”
That support also helped Boluwatife integrate into life in Indianapolis — particularly at school. “IPS has been home to me,” she said. “I’ve had the best teachers and wonderful schoolmates. Not once have I ever felt I didn’t fit in or belong here. I’ll sincerely miss my school.”
The experiences that Boluwatife has had at Northwest have given her the courage to begin the next phase of her life. This fall, she will attend Ball State University, where she will major in public relations. Her ultimate goal is to work in immigration to “help fellow Africans in search of greener pastures overseas.”
And she understands that believing in herself is vital to succeeding: “Confidence is really the key,” she said.
As she prepares to leave Northwest and IPS, Boluwatife hopes to leave the next generation of district students with some important words from an important person in her life: “I’ll only tell you what my mother has always told me: ‘The sky is not your limit, but your starting point.’”