NEWINGTON – Before his freshman year at Newington High School, Joshua Akosa told himself he would become valedictorian and get accepted by his dream schools.
The Class of 2021 graduated June 9 with Akosa at the top of his class. The valedictorian was accepted into Boston University, Harvard and the University of Connecticut, where he received a full scholarship and has decided to enroll via the pre-med course path.
“I think a big part of it has to do with time management,” Akosa said of his success at NHS. “Just making sure you’re prioritizing what you want to do and setting goals for yourself early on.”
He also had great examples to follow at home.
“My mom and my sisters are some of the biggest motivations in my life,” Akosa said. “That helped me achieve these things.”
He can recall as a child, his mother studying with flash cards for hours on end, in hopes of getting into medical school.
“She would be doing that day and night,” he recalled. “And my sister since elementary school would work with me on my studying. They also let me have a lot of fun which I thought was really important.”
In addition to being an academic scholar, Akosa is an athlete and a musician.
He played soccer freshman and sophomore year and volleyball his freshman, sophomore and senior year. Junior year the sport was canceled due to covid-19. As a sophomore, Akosa and his team won the CIAC state volleyball championship. They made it to the championship game this year as well, but fell short against top-seeded Joel Barlow.
Akosa also ran indoor track all four years and was a member of the school’s Math Team, which won the regional championship his sophomore year.
His musical career began as a freshman in symphonic band. He switched to Wind Ensemble as a sophomore, where he remained the next three years.
One of Akosa’s proudest accomplishments was founding NHS club “Stop the Stigma: Start the Conversation.”
“We’re all about raising awareness for mental health and substance abuse,” he said.
Akosa, a member of the school’s Academy of Biomedical Sciences, was also a semifinalist for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program
In his free time he participated in UConn Health Center’s Clinic for Migrant Farmers and spent two summers volunteering at Hartford Hospital.
Akosa was accepted into UConn as a Stamps Scholar and hopes to become a doctor someday.
“I considered becoming a surgeon but I’m definitely open to new things,” he said. “There’s still so much to learn and find out in terms of what I like.”
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.