MILDRED EUROPA TAYLOR
Nigerian student Victory Yinka-Banjo made headlines in 2020 when she scored straights As in her West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). Weeks prior to that, she had been rated as the “Top in the World” in English as a second language (speaking endorsement) by the University of Cambridge International Examination (CIE), according to a CNN report. In the Cambridge IGCSE exam, the Nigerian teen acquired A* in all six subjects she sat for, the report added.
Today, the 17-year-old high school graduate has received 19 full-ride scholarship offers from universities across the United States and Canada. Documents cited by CNN show that Victory has been offered more than 5 million dollars worth of scholarship money for an undergraduate program of study.
“It still feels pretty unbelievable. I applied to so many schools because I didn’t even think any school would accept me,” Victory told CNN.
She received potential full scholarships from Harvard College, Yale College, Brown University and Princeton University. Other scholarship offers were from Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In Canada, she was given the Lester B. Pearson scholarship from the University of Toronto and the Karen McKellin International Leader of Tomorrow (KMILOT) scholarship from the University of British Columbia.
Victory was born to Nigerian parents. Her mother, Chika Yinka-Banjo, is a senior lecturer at the University of Lagos while her father, Adeyinka Banjo, is a private sector procurement and supply chain executive. The teenager attributes her academic triumph to parental guidance, faith and hard work. She said her scholarship offers “have made me stand taller, smile wider, and pat myself on the back more often.”
Her hope is to study Computational Biology though she is yet to choose a school. Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Duke, and Johns Hopkins are on top of her list, she said, adding that she is still doing research on them.
Victory’s parents are proud of her achievement, and they are optimistic that her story will encourage other young Nigerians to go for gold. “It is noteworthy that she is not one of the Nigerian-Americans who often get into these schools because of their advantage of being born and bred in the US. She completed her secondary school here [in Nigeria]. It would be great if her story can be used to inspire the youths of our country,” Victory’s mother, Chika, told CNN.