Ovella O’Neil is so proud of her 18-year-old son for finishing high school and going on to college she wanted the world to know. The Camden, New Jersey mom recently plunked down $725 for a billboard congratulating Aljelani “AJ” Igwe on his achievement.

“He has always been a super kid,” she told ABC news. “He is always on the right track.”

To make sure AJ stayed on the right path, O’Neil instituted some strict rules—no girlfriends and no cell phone, which she called “distractions.”

“My kids can have those things when are done with school and have a job to pay for them,” she explained.

O’Neil’s parenting strategy worked. While Camden is plagued by violence, crime, and low graduation rates, AJ not only finished high school, but he’s headed to Rowan University to study engineering in the fall.


While some have wondered whether O’Neil’s money could have been better spent elsewhere, others commended the mom for shining a light on her son, and the beleaguered city.

“It made my heart warm, because good things do come from the city of Camden,” one passerby told CBS.

We agree.

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