Soon after the birth of senior Muamba Muanankese on January 7, 1986, his family decided to move from their native country of Zaire to escape the underdeveloped educational system. Eighteen years later, Muanankese will be attending one of the most prestigious schools in the United States, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
MIT offered Muanankese a scholarship as well as financial aid which together will take care of 95 percent of his tuition. Muanankese is glad that his dedication to school has paid off. "It feels good to work hard and earn something," he says and adds that some of his success is attributable to Blair. "Because of the opportunities available [here], I was able to challenge myself academically and still be able to participate in many extracurricular activities."
Muanankese was a starter for varsity football as a defensive end and an offense running back, a member of Blair's National Honor Society and one of the top wrestlers at Blair, winning second in the region and placing sixth in the state. At the same time, Muanankese took AP Psychology, AP Modern World History and AP Calculus in his junior year and then AP Economics, AP Physics (calculus-based), AP Statistics and AP French in his senior year. All the while, he received excellent grades and maintained good balance between schoolwork and extracurriculars.
MIT was not the only school to accept Muanankese; Dartmouth and Cornell also granted him admission. Muanankese was also offered a full ride to Morehouse and received the All-Met Scholarship for the University of Pennsylvania, which would have allowed him to attend the university for free. However, in the end, Muanankese chose MIT, where he hopes to study math and physics and later attend medical school after he graduates.
Looking back on his experiences, Muanankese says dedication will take people wherever they want to go. "Hard work really does pay off, and although it sounds like a cliché, it is true," says Muanankese. "I had a goal, and I went after it, and that's how I got to where I am now."
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