--- Issued April 25, 2018

Ahmed Abukar, 17, 100 block of East 18th Street, graduated from Collegiate Academy this fall hoping to go to college.


Those hopes were more than met:  Ahmed was accepted by ten “selective schools” including Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale, and Harvard.

Ahmed chose Harvard.

Harvard is an exceptional school, but Ahmed is not the exception in his family as far as colleges go.

All of his siblings have gone to college, schools ranging from George Washington University to Edinboro and Penn State.

Ahmed was featured in the Erie Times News on June 6, 2018 for being accepted to more than 10 colleges and universities. The family has been residents of HACE since 1997.

The rest of his family includes Ahmed’s father, Omar Abukar Nur; his mother, Alio Mohamed; two brothers, Ilyas Abukar, 30 and Abdulaziz Abukar 36; and three sisters -- Amal Abukar, 28, Naimo Abukar, 32, and Fahda Abukar, 37.

Amal and Illyas are winners of the Louis J. Tullio Scholarship and Abdulaziz, Naimo, Ilyas, and Amal worked with children as summer interns at the Erie Housing Authority, according to their father.

“The children just did a good job,” said Omar, asked how he and his wife raised such successful and motivated children. “They did their homework.  They went to school every day. They were not absent.  We are low income.  They knew they had to work harder. It was the children who did the work.”

Ahmed gave the credit to his parents, saying that they “always encouraged learning.”

“And we children wanted to do well to help support our parents and each other.  We had a lot of siblings, and each of the older ones tried to help the younger ones.  They tried to impart whatever wisdom they had to the younger ones.”

As to how Ahmed managed to be successful with so many college and university applications, including Harvard and Yale, and what advice he would give as a role model to other young Erie Housing Authority residents, he said:

“Studies are of course important, but I tried to do a lot of other extracurricular activities as well.  The college’s want to see your drive and the personality behind the application sheet.  Your activities, your essays, and the recommendations you get make all the difference in the world.”

“My advice:  write a lot and read a lot. And practice at everything you do. Get involved.  Make the most of opportunities and don’t let things pass you by.  Use your time effectively so you can be more productive.

 “Work hard!”