He lost his father, went through foster care, but was accepted to 9 medical schools

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Reported by Liku Zelleke

He led a tough life. The odds were stacked against him and, at one time, it did seem that he wouldn’t be able to make it through high school. He, and almost everyone around him, just couldn’t imagine seeing him succeed.

But that is exactly what Festus Ohan, 22, did: he succeeded.

Festus spent his teen years in foster care. He remembers the day his father left him.

“I went to bed in tears, crying, praying, [and]asking God ‘Why did this happen to me?'” Festus says. Over the years, he was passed on from one family to another, so many of them in fact, that even he isn’t sure about the exact number – seven or eight is his best estimate.

All he knows is that the time he spent in the foster care system “was the worst time” in his life. It didn’t help with his education either.

“Early on in high school, I got in trouble for fighting a lot,” Festus says, “and I was in a pre-expulsion contract.”

His ultimate dream was to become a doctor. But the life he was living almost made it impossible for him to keep that dream alive.

Those that were actually supposed to encourage him were the ones that were discouraging him. “Constantly hearing my foster parents throw statistics at me, about there’s only a 1 percent chance that a foster kid will even graduate college, let alone attend professional school, kind of impacted me in a way,” Festus says.

That’s all changed now. Festus is about to graduate from University of California, Riverside with a degree in neuroscience. He’s so good at his studies that, so far, he has been accepted to 9 medical schools all over the country: Northwestern University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of California, San Francisco, University of Houston, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Southern California.

But Festus has made up his mind; he’s headed to UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine where he has been offered a fellowship that covers all expenses.

“I actually start Aug. 4, so I’ll have like a 6-week break,” Festus says, “but I’m excited for the next step in my journey.”

16 Comments

  1. LAVERNE HARDIN on

    This is the best information I have read in this blog. I admire, appreciate and would love to sit down with Festus and discuss this more. Young people today want everything handed to them, even older people. I have owned an operated various facilities for people that are trying to recover from drug addiction, they are adults, they surrender to the drug and have no value, no concern, no get up, they think it will just come. It is very clear that the challenges this young man faced far exceed the choices of drugs, yet he is a true success story he should bottle what he has and sell it.

  2. Raymond Moore on

    Festus Ohan I am “EXTREMELY PROUD” of you and pray and hope all the best for the rst of your life. Reach-One-Teach-One, do it for the race of our people.

  3. Here’s the disturbing part..

    Those that were actually supposed to encourage him were the ones that were discouraging him. “Constantly hearing my foster parents throw statistics at me, about there’s only a 1 percent chance that a foster kid will even graduate college, let alone attend professional school, kind of impacted me in a way,” Festus says.

    And just so you know those foster parents that were blocking his dream or discouraging him’ receive monthly checks to housed him in their care.. see it was all about the money and not the CHILD..

    I thank God that GOD moved on his behalf and KNEW he was CHILD genius for GOd created him to be a DOCTOR. He was troubled CHILD becuz of what his dad did and he felt abandoned , alone without a FAMILY to call his own, every CHILD needs to feel WANTED and loved in their formative years by a family structure.. and without this? A child feels worthless and ACTS out..

    Festus Ohan, I don’t know you but I’m very PROUD of you, become a Doctor and give GOD the GLORY!

  4. childofthesixties on

    First of all, allow me to say congrats to the young man for his will power to succeed beyond the fact that the cards were stacked against him. Which lets me know that anyone can make it if they choose to, never allow anyone to tell you that you won’t nor can’t make it, mama may be gone, daddy may not be there but only you hold the key to success!

  5. Eddie Donahoo on

    U are truly inspiring sir. To me .

    Iknow what it feels like going through the past things you experienced sir.

    I experienced those things to God knows your smart skilled and a true asset to the world.

    Only if more knew their worth in their youth we would have more light fill this world dwarfing the shadows God continue in you sir.

  6. William Leonard on

    Proud of this young man and the things he was able to do with very little help. Some time whose who walk out of your life can be the best that life can offer. Stories like this will not make the 6 o’clock news.

  7. Great job young black man achieve your dreams I am a black woman married to black man raising a strong black man and a successful black woman trust me I love my people they break my heart be very careful of our people majority of them are looking for a hand out and will cause you to miss opportunities that they themselves had and could have reached and achieved their dreams but did not put in the work keep your single eye pursuit blessings

  8. Pingback: Festus Ohan, 22, Overcomes Troubled Teen Foster Care Years to Finish College and Earn Acceptance to 7 Top Medical Schools | GOOD BLACK NEWS

  9. Pingback: After Losing His Father & Living In Foster Care, Troubled Teen Gets Accepted To 9 Medical Schools! | Word On Da Street