KNIGHTDALE — Bright Gyamfi moved here from Ghana in 2006 with little more than the mere hope that America would live up to its reputation as the land of opportunity.
He had no friends, almost no money and he knew no English.
But in 2008, Bright began his pursuit of college as a freshman at Knightdale High School.
My family moved to U.S. for the education system. Having a degree in the U.S. and taking it back to Ghana would be tremendous, he said in an interview recently. Its the only way I can have an impact on my community.
Back home, his nations poverty is reflected in its education system, he says.
You must buy your own books, and the standard of learning is very low, he said.
So, with no one to translate his homework or his lectures from English to Twi, he buckled down.
I stayed up until 3, 4, 5 in the morning sometimes all night translating and reading, he said.
On June 8, Bright graduated from Knightdale High with a 4.9 weighted grade-point average. He also played on the soccer team and was a member of several academic clubs.
But its March 28 hell remember for much longer. Thats when he received an acceptance letter from the University of Notre Dame.
The school, known as The Fighting Irish, gave Bright a full scholarship.
It was the best news I have ever heard. I feel incredibly blessed, he said.
Im thankful to the Lord for how far hes brought me and for my teachers who were so willing to spend their time and work after school to help me even when they didnt have to, he said.
At Notre Dame, hell major in business law and political science and minor in education.
Bright hopes to use his education as an asset to his village in Ghana, where he plans to return after college. Unemployment there is about 27 percent. For our population to move forward, it needs to be educated, have more doctors, nurses and teachers. Many still drink contaminated water, he said.
Ill work with the education system or the government or other helpful organizations, he said. Somehow, I will make a difference because its my dream to give back.