When mothers feel a sense of pride about their children, they often go a long way to celebrate them! That was the case with Aljelani Igwe’s mom, Ovella O’Neal, whose happiness over her 18-year-old recent graduation from Leap Academy Charter School, led her to buy a billboard as a graduation present for her son, HuffingtonPost reports.
“A mother can’t raise a man but I raised a gentleman,” the billboard, which cost $725 and also features a picture of Igwe, reads. “We have the total package.”
Needless to say, the billboard stunned the 18-year-old.
“When he turned around he said ‘Oh my God. How did you get that up there?’” O’Neal told CBS Philly. “He was totally surprised.”
The single mom of six says her happiness is in part from the fact that Igwe has been able to succeed despite his surroundings that is popularly known for its high crime and low graduation rates, with two in five high school seniors failing to graduate in 2014, according to South Jersey Times. Camden was actually reported to have the highest crime rate in the United States according to CQ Press’ 2013 Crime Rate Rankings.
O’Neal created strict rules in her household like prohibiting Igwe from having a girlfriend. She also limited his cell phone use, in order to keep him from getting distracted, CBS Philly reported. Her guidelines seemed to have worked and she says her son stayed on the right track.
“He’s a young male and he made it through the whole downfall of Camden — the bad rap, I should say, of Camden,” O’Neal told 6ABC.
While the loving gesture is a bold one, the recent graduate, who’s headed to Rowan University in the fall to study engineering, says his hard-working mother deserves a big gift as well. He told CBS Philly that he hopes to make that happen in the future.
“I know I want my own house and my mom wanted a BMW so I’m going to try and get her that too.”