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My name is Michael Jongwesimatipa Sakala, a native of Zambia and a business enthusiast. My interest in business led me to enroll at Wiley College in the fall of 2013 as a Business Administration major with a concentration in Accounting and a minor in Computer Information Systems. Getting to this point in life took hard work, dedication, and perseverance among many challenges. My life is a living testimony and a taste to what God can do if you fully depend on him.
I lost my mom when I was only 5 years old and that’s when everything changed in my life. At the age of 8, I was taken to an orphanage in Lusaka headed by Bishop White and Jean Chama who raised me as their own son. They became my family and early educators. I did my primary education at Arthur Wina basic school and was given a full ride scholarship to attain secondary education at Tum high school. In 2010 November I completed my secondary education. A need arose to matriculate into higher education.
I applied to the University of Zambia (UNZA), the highest local learning institution, and was accepted. Unfortunately, I was unable to secure my spot at UNZA due to financial constraints. Devastated, I longed for my mom and wondered how different things could have been had she been alive. After much contemplation on what next steps to take with the newly found obstacle, I joined forces with a friend to find alternative learning opportunities.
Together we started visiting foreign embassies situated in Zambia to find out what opportunities they had available for students. In the event of this search, I became aware of the United States Student Achievers Program that supported academically successful but economically underprivileged students with college applications to the US. Unfortunately, I was rejected into this program. The two unsuccessful attempts to gain access to education left me emotionally crippled as I felt unworthy and under qualified. In my hopeless state, my friend offered encouragement.
Seeing the resilience of my friend and I, a friend reached out saying “I know a young man named Eric currently in a US university. Why don’t you find out how he managed to get in?” Taking the advice, we reached out to Eric Kalobwe who introduced us to the New Season Youth Program (NSYP). With excitement, we used the smallest smartphones we could find to apply into the program. Amazingly, we both were accepted.
With this acceptance came the challenge of paying for the Standardized American Test (SAT) which we needed to take to apply into American colleges. Fortunately, Mr. Jackson- the NSYP Director who had come to treat me as his own child, came to my aid. I was able to take the SAT with an OK score. At that time, Mr. Jackson came to learn of my singing abilities from my brothers at the orphanage. He then recommended me for the Wiley choral scholarship at Wiley University. Before I knew it, I was on my way to attending Wiley. The New Seasons Youth Program changed my life by giving me that opportunity to be educated in the USA.
Enrolling into Wiley on the Choral Scholarship marked the beginning of new adventures and achievements. I enjoy the pleasure of good music and being part of the award winning A Cappella Choir of Wiley College offered me a lot of growing opportunities and a different way to experience life. I was able to travel to different States in America while contributing to the community peace, encouragement and hope offered in songs we sang. My character was groomed by the strong relationships we forged among choir members. Making the most of the opportunity I had, I also excelled in my academics. This led to my receiving the Wiley College Presidential Honors List Award twice in 2014 & 2015. Additionally, in 2015 I was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and into the Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business in January 2016.
It has been an amazing journey thus far and I look forward to what the Lord has in store for me. Currently I’m a rising senior and can’t wait to graduate next year 2017. Despite the challenges that come my way in life, I know and trust that I can and will overcome them with God watching over me.