California Students Secures 122 College Acceptances and $5.3 Million in Scholarships

California Students Secures 122 College Acceptances and $5.3 Million in Scholarships

One Oakland high schooler has received numerous college acceptance letters and scholarships.

Helms Ategeka, a top Head-Royce School student, was accepted into 122 institutions and got $5.3 million in total scholarships. “I feel really lucky that there are people out there, that there are institutions out there that see the value that I have to give,” Helms stated.

Helms believes that his over ten extracurricular activities, ranging from choir to theater to creating his club, combined with his 3.9 GPA, set him out on paper.

His commitment to academics stems from his love for his family and the teachings he learned growing up in Uganda. The college-bound singer only arrived in the United States five years ago.

“I just really had to remind myself that this is an opportunity, especially where I’m from that a lot of people don’t have,” said the man. “I wanted to be grateful for that and honor my parents.”

Helms, an aspiring pop and R&B recording artist applied to roughly 160 institutions in search of the greatest curriculum imaginable, but he never selected a first choice for fear of letdown.

After weighing the pros and disadvantages and taking into account financial help, he chose UC Berkeley for its music department and course diversity.

“That’s how I ultimately chose Cal since I thought music was amazing! The location is great! Now let’s look at everything else,” he stated.

Cal is also the alma mater of his father, Chris Ategeka, who worked with immigration for years to bring Helms into the United States.

“All the things that I and my family had to go through to be here, sometimes there’s moments where you have to pinch yourself,” said Chris. “Is this happening or is this a dream?”

Chris believes his son’s innate passion for music, combined with hard effort, luck, and a higher power, is what drives him to succeed.

“He has found a thing and that thing is music,” Chris stated. “That exudes so much enthusiasm that it is contagious. It’s incredibly hard to ignore.”

Helms is excited to create his own legacy one note at a time.

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