As the Bulldogs shot put and discus specialist, it is not unusual to see the 18-year-old senior holding either the discus or shot, pieces that he calls his “track trade” in one hand and a school book in the other as he waits his turn to practice.
If he is not tossing the shot or discus or volunteering at Southern Regional Medical Center in the patient information office, Onukwulis finds to study, even in the most unusual places.
As the valedictorian of his graduating class and a member of such prestigious student organizations as the Beta Club, the National Technical Honors Society, and the Future Business Leaders of America, Onukwuli hopes to garner an academic college scholarship but would like very much to stay relatively close to home.
“I am always thinking of what my next step will be, especially if it deals with my post-secondary education,” he said.
As to his philosophy of life, Onukwuli believes he must repay, in some way, the people, especially his parents, who gave of their time and talents to raise him and make sure he is on the right path as a responsible adult.
“With regard to my parents, they have done so much for me and the least I can do is to be there for them from many standpoints, emotionally, financially and any others, when the time comes that they need my help,” he said.
A typical day for Onukwuli, who carries a 4.16 grade point average, begins at 6:20 a.m. and continues well past 8 p.m. As far as school work is concerned, he has to “integrate that into my other activities.”
Asked to describe himself in one word, he thought for a moment and said, “human.”
“As I see it, humanity strives for greatness,” he said. “As humans, we all move forward without regard to the trails and tribulations we endure.”
He said history shows many incidents of humans committing horrible atrocities against other humans.
“However, there are many incidents of humans making incredible sacrifices for others less fortunate, such as Mother Theresa,” he said.
“I see myself as a humble guy who enjoys doing things for others.”
As to his future after college, he wants to become a member of a team in the technical field, such as computer science or engineering.
However, Onukwuli added he doesn’t have to start at the top.
“Anything I can do to develop something that will give aid and comfort to people is what I’d really enjoy doing,” he said.