Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Philomena,” the movie starring Dame Judi Dench, has been both a critical and commercial success.
The film is based on the story of Philomena Lee, who as an unmarried pregnant teenager, went to a Catholic-run home for unwed mothers in Rosecrea, Ireland in 1952.
“In those days it was such an awful thing to have the baby out of wedlock, we were ostracized all over the place,” Lee told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “My father didn’t want to know me. He disowned me.”
Lee was compelled by the nuns to put her son up for adoption, and he was taken away when he was three and a half.
Leenever saw her son again, although she left word with the nuns for her son, in case he came looking for her. As a grown-up, Lee’s son tried repeatedly to contact her, but the nuns never put the two in touch with each other.
Lee eventually attempted to find her son, with the help of her grown daughter Jane Libberton 10 years ago, but the two found out that he had died of AIDS in 1995.