Newark 17-year-old earns high school diploma, two-year college associate's degree

Jim Dolan Image
Tuesday, May 28, 2024
17-year-old from Newark receives high school diploma, college credits
Jim Dolan has the story.

NEWARK, New Jersey (WABC) -- Adrian Ottah has spent a lot of time at the computer - and he is not playing video games. At 17 years old, he has earned a high school diploma and a two-year associate's degree in college at the same time.

"My true motivation was my parents, my immigrant parents, I know they didn't have the opportunity to do this, so when I had the opportunity, I just took it and ran with it," Ottah said.

Ottah's parents moved to New Jersey from Nigeria a few years before he was born. They moved here for the same reason so many still come.

"For greener pastures. I heard America you could live your dream, I said OK, let me go see that dream," said Ottah's mother, Miriam Watson.

Ottah goes to University High School in Newark and they offer a program where college professors come to the school and teach college-level courses for a few students.

Ottah earned 60 college credits in that program after countless, endless days. He says college classes are harder, but not too hard for him.

"I'm graduating with over a 3.0 GPA in a college class while juggling high school classes as well and I have a 3.5 in high school," said Ottah.

Still, his mother understands what her son has done is exceptional.

"It's amazing, I'm out of words - I'm so proud of him," she says.

Ottah says he wants to honor the sacrifice made by his parents and to change the arc of his family in a single generation. With all of the college credits he has earned already in high school, he could graduate from college when he is just 19 years old.

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