Ever since Kennedy Nwabia (’15) came to America from Nigeria, 9,270 km away, he has been a basketball and soccer standout, setting and breaking records in his short time at North Cross.
“Coming to America, I thought I was going to be better at basketball,” Nwabia said, “because I played it more and only played soccer on the weekends.”
Nwabia had a little bit of time in America before North Cross. He attended an all-boys’ Catholic boarding school, Mount Michael Benedictine School in Nebraska for a month. He arrived at school, planning to only play basketball, but an injury to soccer standout Ezra Zigarwi brought Nwabia onto the pitch.
“I met with Mr. Brown one day, and he said I should try out for the team,” said Nwabia, who plays forward in soccer and basketball. “I went to practice the next day, and it went really well.”
He had no equipment to play in, so his soccer and basketball teammate Bennett Holley (‘15) let him use his old cleats and shin guards. Nwabia scored three goals in his first game for the Raiders.
Soccer is extremely competitive in Nigeria, along with boxing, basketball, running and dancing.
“I decided to play basketball because I saw it as a easy way out of the country,” Nwabia said. “I wanted to leave the country to get a better education, to get a chance to play at the next level and experience great competition.”
For Nwabia, getting a chance to accomplish his goals has been tough. College Counselor Julie Aavastmark has worked hard to get him qualified through the NCAA Clearing House.
“With international students it’s really hard because they have more than one transcript.” Aavatsmark said. “With a student like Kennedy it’s hard for compliance officers to be familiar with the grading scales from foreign countries.”
Adding to the difficulties is the difference in grading between countries, as everyone does not just get a smiley face A+ in Nigeria at any level of school.
“It’s hard for officers to know how it works in Nigeria because nobody gets an A,” Aavatsmark said.
Nwabia will not know until around July or August whether the compliance officers will clear him. On Jan. 6, Nwabia was accepted into Dayton University.
“All I can do is thank God for the blessing,” Nwabia said, “and pray that he continues to bless me.”