- Judson Independent School District
JECA's Kamsiyochukwu Okoli exudes confidence and poise
Kamsiyochukwu Okoli. From Nigerian origin, it means, “The Way I Ask God.”
It’s not a common name and she’s not a common girl. Kami, as her friends and teachers call her, is the salutatorian of the JECA Class of 2023!
“I didn’t think I would make it there. I was just doing my thing - turning in my work, trying my best. And then I thought, ‘oh, I made it.’” Okoli said.
She’s a product of Judson ISD - from Woodlake Elementary to JSTEM, the goal was always Judson Early College High School. She was following the standard set by her sister Onyeka, who was setting up the crumbs for Kami to follow her path.
“I saw her experience at JECA - it was hyped up in my house,” Okoli said. “I thought - I want to be there too.”
After originally being born in Houston, Texas, her family moved back to Nigeria, where she stayed until four years old. Then, they moved back to America and settled in the northeast part of San Antonio.
Her parents wanted Kami and her siblings to experience the American education system - it was what was best for their children.
“They remind us how the education system [in Nigeria] is just not [what they wanted for us]. They were really adamant about getting us into school in America. They wanted us to have as many opportunities as possible that they weren't always available to have,” Okoli said.
Now, Kami is taking advantage of those opportunities - using the Alamo Promise program to attend St. Philips’ College Nursing Program, with the goal to eventually be a postpartum nurse, helping mothers after the birth of their babies.
“I want to be there to assist, help the doctors, and have a more one-on-one connection with patients, which nurses do,” Okoli said.
Her parent’s desire for their kids to have better than they did doesn’t escape her. It drives her.
It’s also her mother’s drive, who was also obtaining a degree herself while her kids were in school, that pushed Kami to be the best she can be.
“She has taken care of three children - that itself is an achievement. She cooks, cleans, does the laundry, does everything a mother does to make sure her children are successful,” Okoli said. “She’s the hardest working person I know - making sure we’re ok and going to school for her own degree. It just inspires me to know that I can do anything no matter how old I am.”
Her family is just one aspect of her support system. At JECA, students move through cohorts all four years with the same adviser. Therefore, they create deep bonds not only with their teachers but also with each other.
“Maria, Janelly, Maddie, Joel, and Chanel - they all got me through this,” Okali said, describing the stress and pressure of taking high school and college classes at the same time. “Not only did they help me with my school work but also with emotional support - there were times that I didn’t feel comfortable talking to my family, so I went to them. They were incredibly supportive.”
On top of having one of the most unique names, Kamsiyochukwu exudes confidence and poise, with a steady, confident path towards success to eventually help the most vulnerable humans take care of their brand new little humans.
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