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Student Spotlight - Meet Thadeus Acha

By Jennifer Higgins

Liberty North High School senior Thadeus Acha likes to brag that each member of his family was born in a different country. His mom Thadeus Acha is a missionary kid from Mexico, his dad is from a small village in Cameroon, his older brother was born in Nigeria, and Thadeus was born in America. Most of his extended family still lives in Nigeria or Cameroon, and they visit every couple of years, along with sending a portion of every paycheck to them. This upbringing has made Acha not a typical American teenager.  

In the middle of his sophomore year, Acha was struggling. He was feeling too “Americanized”, and wanted to get back to his roots.  In addition, depression was creeping in, as well as a need to put things in perspective. So while most sophomores were going to basketball games, trying to decide what to eat for lunch, and playing games on their phones, Acha decided to spend a year in Africa.  

“My year in Nigeria was honestly life-changing. What I found in Nigeria was so much more than that, though. In my time there, I got to take classes at a seminary, volunteer at an orphanage, work on my great-grandmother's farm a few months before she passed away, play soccer with children in the streets, help build a hostel for the seminary (cement mixing and all), discover my now-favorite author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, eat the best food ever, and most importantly, meet some of the wisest and most interesting people I have ever known. I made lifelong friends and matured in ways I never knew I needed. It was a priceless experience,” Acha said.

Back from Africa, Acha jumped right into the theatre and forensics programs at Liberty North, picking up where he left off with musicals and play productions. He is the principal role of Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, opening this weekend.

“I was never really involved in theatre until my freshman year when my best friend, Nate Meshau, convinced me to audition for Hello Dolly! Since then, I have totally fallen in love with the feeling of becoming a different person for a few hours in my day,” Acha said.

Theater teacher David Young has guided Acha through many performances. “Thadeus has a strong stage presence and a positive attitude, which contribute significantly to the musical theatre program. He is the type of person who gets along with everyone around him, and his positive spirit is infectious,” Young said.

It’s not just being on stage in a production that has caught his heart, but any performance. Acha is an active member of forensics as well. It has given him the opportunity to let his voice be heard and give a voice to those who might not have one.

Acha is not sure where he wants to attend college and has applied to 11 different colleges in 6 states. While he has not decided where he will be attending next fall, a career choice is clear for him: a civil engineer.

“I have seen so much need for strong civil engineers in Nigeria and Cameroon, when it comes to building infrastructure, irrigation systems, electricity distribution, and general city planning. I would like to ultimately move back to Africa and give back to the continent that gave so much to me,” Acha said.

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Update:  Thadeus was recently selected as a Fox 4 Reaching 4 Excellence young achiever.  His feature aired Wednesday, November 28, 2018 and can be viewed by clicking here!