News Brief

Nigerian High Schooler Gets the Best Gift for Graduation—His Mom

Classmates of graduating high school senior Mike Tertsea raised money to fly out his mom from Benue State, Nigeria for graduation.

‘Tis commencement season when graduates from around the world receive their diplomas, turn their tassels, and receive hugs, kisses and congratulatory words from family and friends.


Though Mike Tertsea, a graduating senior from Nigeria studying abroad at John Carroll School in Bel Air, Maryland, thought he would have to forgo the latter since his only immediate relative lived a continent away.

That’s until he received a surprise gift—his mom.

Tertsea’s classmates raised the money to fly his mother Felicia Ikpum 12-hours from Benue State, Nigeria and cover the costs of her visa—costing a total of $1,763—so she could witness one of her only child’s biggest milestones.

“I was really, really surprised. I didn’t expect my own friends and classmates to extend this helping hand,” Tertsea says, sporting a wide grin, ABC 2 News reports.

It had been four years since Tertsea left Nigeria as a freshman to study and play basketball in America. And when he reunited with his mom, whom he had only spoken to by phone during that time, she could barely recognize him.

“He’s bigger and taller,” Ikpum says of her now 6-foot-10-inch son.

When Tertsea’s classmates fell $500 short for Ikpum’s trip, his class co-advisor Carrie Siemsen rallied faculty and staff over email to kick in the remaining funds, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“God bless them. I thank them so much. I don’t know what to say, but God Bless them.” Ikpum says of her son’s school’s gesture.

After graduating, Tertsea plans to attend University of Rhode Island where he is considering studying economics or business management.

View Mike Tertsea's heartwarming story below.

Interview

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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