Omatayo Chinedu Saka and Kori Alise Elliott both had the right attitude to propel them into the next chapters of their lives.
BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Sunday had a different flow for Kori Alise Elliott and Omatayo Chinedu Saka. On a usual Sunday, the two would attend church service and participate in youth activities.
However, this particular day felt like a spiritual send-off into a world of unknown adventure. Pastor Jon Matthews delivered a sermon called “The right attitude,” and they both felt he was speaking to them personally.
Born and raised in St. Pete, young Kori envisioned becoming Dr. KAE (Kori Alise Elliott). Around the age of 15, she decided to become a pediatrician; however, the vision at that time was difficult to see.
With no prior knowledge of entering the medical field and not seeing a Black doctor until she was a junior in college, she was left with the responsibility of filling in gaps she didn’t know existed.
With the right attitude, Ms. Kori didn’t let anything stop her. She obtained a master’s degree in interdisciplinary science from the University of South Florida and is now pursuing medical school.
“The lack of diversity within the medical field is one of the reasons why I continue to persevere through the obstacles and challenges that I have faced,” she said. “I just hope that my journey to becoming Dr. Kori A. Elliott will inspire at least one child to take a leap of faith and dream beyond their current environment.”
Her mother, Larre’ Davis is proud of her daughter for being a role model to other Black youth.
“I’m so excited about all of Kori’s accomplishments, for all the obstacles she has overcome,” said Davis.
Just one day earlier, Omatayo danced as the sounds of the motherland filled the same room at Lake Vista Recreation Center to celebrate his journey to Florida State University as an incoming freshman.
Born in St. Pete with family roots in Nigeria, he is big on words and the messages that come with them. In Nigeria, names have meaning and value that he wholly embraces.
His first name means “joy,” which he believes follows him throughout his life. Chinedu means “God guides,” which has manifested in how God has directed his life.
“When I was 12, my father left to return to Nigeria, and I was now the man of the household. In a matter of months, I became responsible for teaching and helping with my siblings while my mother worked long hours,” said Omatayo.
With the additional responsibilities and the stresses that came with it, he started to struggle in school. It was a heavy load to carry.
“I often found myself thinking I would never achieve anything in life for myself; that my life would revolve around caring for my family,” recalled Omatayo.
He persevered with the support of his family, guidance from his mother, mentoring from Pastor Matthews, and of course, the right attitude. He graduated from Calvary Christian High School with a 4.0-grade point average and is headed off to Florida State University.
“Tayo is probably one of the wisest young men I have ever met,” said Youth Pastor Micah Poole. “Not only does he retain and break down information easily, but he also applies it.”
Although separate, Ms. Kori and Omatayo’s dreams are driven by mothers operating in faith to raise children with the help of God. One day we will be introduced to Dr. KAE and see great vision from Omatayo.
The two are living proof that nothing is impossible for those with the right attitude.
To reach Dexter McCree, email firstname.lastname@example.org