Born and raised in Nigeria, Ekene Paschal’s journey has been exciting to say the least. Growing up with five siblings, he entered the United States with his uncle and his family in order to achieve a better life and future.
Ekene’s fascination with computers and technology drew him close to the Carlos Rosario School. Ekene started in the Computer Literacy class, where he learned Microsoft Office skills and improved his typing. As he excelled, his fascination with computers soon turned into his passion.
“I’m curious about how everything works. I love how everything is built to a program. Programming is my favorite part,” says Ekene.
Ekene continued on to earn his GED at the school, but he didn’t stop there. He wanted something more: a college degree to further his professional skills. With the help of the School’s Student Transition Services Manager, Selvon Waldron, Ekene found the Computer Technology Program at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) and completed his application..
As he was applying to UDC, he had doubts of whether he could be accepted. He was ecstatic when he learned he was. “I was happy to start school and achieve my goals. Carlos Rosario helped me achieve my goals. I am thrilled to go to college,” he said.
Although Ekene was excited to go to college, he faced one more challenge. How would he pay the high tuition costs? Ekene searched for scholarships and loans so he could attend school, but he could not find the right opportunity. As he registered for his college courses and took placement tests, he found that his test scores were significantly high. He was then recommended for the President’s Scholarship of UDC, which pays for students’ entire tuition. Ekene was awarded a full ride scholarship. “I felt incredible when I got the news. I thought they were joking. I dropped to the floor. Never in my life have I heard such great news. It was a miracle,” he said.
Ekene set goals, and with the help of the Carlos Rosario School, he achieved them. His dreams of attending college finally came true. He was not only accepted into college, but offered a full ride for his studies..
Reflecting on his success, Ekene said, “If it weren’t for Carlos Rosario (School), I wouldn’t have known about the scholarship. I wouldn’t have the scholarship. I’m the first person in two years to receive this scholarship. Thank you for helping me achieve my goals!”