By STEPHEN O’KANE, Staff Writer | Published May 14, 2009
Our Lady of Mercy High School senior Tosin Ajayi cannot wait to begin college next year at Georgia State University.
It’s not that Tosin is excited about leaving OLM, as it is evident that he holds a special place in his heart for the Fairburn school. Rather, the 18-year-old, who was born in Georgia to Nigerian parents, is looking forward to exploring the wonders of higher education against the backdrop of the bustling city of Atlanta.
“I really can’t wait to go to Georgia State,” said Tosin, “because the city of Atlanta is going to be a fun environment” in which to learn.
With graduation fast approaching, Tosin, the son of Oseni and Kofo Ajayi, reflected on his four years at OLM. The young man, who went to elementary school at St. John the Evangelist, Hapeville, said he felt the school community has supported him throughout his journey.
“The administration is very friendly and if you need help they will go to the ends of the earth to help you,” he said.
And Tosin has experienced that compassion firsthand.
During the summer after his sophomore year, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a revelation that put more than the usual obstacles in the way for a high school student. But the administrators rallied around Tosin, giving him the opportunity to rise above any barriers and continue his education.
“When I was diagnosed with MS, I had no idea what I was going to do in school because my body, everything, just went haywire,” he said.
Ajayi said one teacher in particular, Ana DeMello, in student services, really helped him along.
“She came in and gave me a lot of assistance, like a laptop. My writing isn’t so great so the laptop really helps,” he said.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system and can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, feeling and thinking.
As Tosin looks toward next year, he expressed his interest in pursuing environmental studies, a subject he wants to learn more about so he can help the world at large.
“I have a goal of helping the environment,” he said.
His interest developed during his high school years after he became involved with the recycling club.
“When I was bringing stuff to recycle, that really just like captured my mind,” he said. “The environment is just deteriorating. … I want to help.”
Tosin has been involved with several other groups on campus, including the film club, Science Olympiad and, his favorite, Spanish club. He has been studying Spanish for four years now.
However, he does like to wind down as most high school students do. He enjoys playing video games, watching his favorite shows on television and listening to music.
Even though Tosin faces a struggle that many his age haven’t yet experienced, his positive demeanor shines through. His infectious smile and chuckle brightens any room.
He advised incoming freshmen to take time to become familiar with their new surroundings in high school, but then not to be afraid to look toward the future.