When the Desalu family learned their 2-year-old son, Toks, was deaf, they knew they wanted him to follow the path of his big sister, Bola, who was learning to talk in St. Louis. First they enrolled Toks in another school. When he was 4, they sent him to join Bola at CID.
Toks spent 11 years in the residential program, flying home for long holidays and then graduating in 1998 at age 15. He is an Eagle Scout who counts his time in the CID troop among his best childhood experiences.
“It had a significant impact on my life,” he said.
Toks attended a private high school in St. Louis. He went to college. In 2002, he earned a BS in aviation management from Lewis University and got his pilot’s license. In 2006, he earned an MS in finance from Robert Morris University. He currently studies mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota.
When Toks flew back and forth between Nigeria and CID as a child, he always asked to be in the cockpit. Then, he would drill the pilots about the operation of the plane. He said: “I remember in Ms. Fanning’s class at CID, we created a device with a light that came on when a question was answered correctly. No one could answer my questions because my knowledge of aviation was far in advance back then. Ms. Fanning was so puzzled how I knew that stuff.”
Toks is an adventurer. He has begun to build an airplane and blog about it. He rides a motorcycle and takes skydiving lessons.
“When I first started out, I just wanted to experience things an average person would not dare to try,” he said. “I challenged myself to overcome my fears.”
Toks describes himself as a chaser of dreams, including his life-long dream to work in the aviation industry. After 9/11, his path “took an unexpected turn,” but he never gave up. Now, he is back on course toward realizing his dream.