ALAMEDA -- The whirlwind that is the life of Akintunde Ahmad continued Tuesday, this time getting a reward courtesy of the Raiders that included a shopping spree at Raider Image and a Chromebook computer delivered personally by general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Ahmad, who goes by "Tunde," is currently the face of the Oakland Unified School District by virtue of his 5.0 grade point average at Oakland Tech High (made possible by getting all A's in advanced placement courses) and his decision on national television to attend Yale University.
Moments before being whisked away with his gear for a tour of the club facility courtesy of linebacker Nick Roach, cornerback Taiwan Jones and wide receiver Rod Streater, Ahmad talked with reporters about his sudden celebrity.
"I've been embracing it," Ahmad said. "It happened fast, and it was surreal at first, but now it's starting to settle in that it's finally time to go off to college.
"I'm very fortunate and thankful that a lot of people have been recognizing me, and I'm glad that we have a lot of positive news coming out of Oakland. This is bigger than me; casting my city in a positive light is really what it's all about."
Ahmad announced Yale as his choice as a guest on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" on April 29 and was presented with a check for $15,000 to put toward college. He has been the subject of newspaper stories and local television features detailing his considerable resume.
Besides a perfect grade point average while college level courses, Ahmad had a 2,100 score out of 2,400 on his SAT and also earned admission to such schools as Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, USC, UCLA, Howard, Chapman and Cal Poly.
He's also the reigning Oakland Athletic League player of the year in baseball for the Tech baseball team and as a member of the Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, plays the trumpet, French horn and a West African drum.
Ahmad is proud that his scholastic excellence came without the help of private tutors or special classes, citing the quality of education in Oakland. He notes his AP U.S. Government class has had a 100 percent pass rate for the past two seasons and said seven other Tech students gained entrance to Ivy League schools.
The son of an AC Transit mechanic and an elementary school principal, Ahmad honed his work ethic at an early age. Asked if he ever thought of blowing off homework even once, Ahmad said, "It just wouldn't sit right in my gut."
While friends and acquaintances from his youth have gotten into trouble and in some cases killed because of drugs and street violence, Ahmad feels he has the support of the community.
"A lot of people, when they see me, they recognize me and then depending on what they're doing, they'll say, 'Don't be like me. Be better,'" Ahmad said. "Everybody's been real supportive."
Roach said stories like Ahmad's can be uplifting for the entire city.
"For sure it's a boost," Roach said. "You've got somebody who has been raised in the same situation that you've been raised in. Same area, same conditions, the same struggles, the same access to things. And being able to find a way to get up out of there is inspiring to anyone who's from the general area."