When Ahmed Muhammad first heard that he had been named the 2021 Class Promotion Major at Oakland Technical High School, he was understandably elated.
“I was so happy! The first thing I did was hug my parents and my sister. A lot of people put a lot of effort into my education, and being a promotion major was a beautiful symbol. to show for that, ”he said -old TODAY via email.
Upgrading all your classmates is a big deal, but the recent farewell speech was remarkable for another major reason: he is the first black male major in the 106-year history of his school.
Though he feels proud of his accomplishments, the California resident can’t help but wonder why it took so long for a black student to earn his school’s prestigious honor.
“Oakland Tech is the largest public school in central Oakland, so it’s honestly sad that I’m the first. I shouldn’t be the first,” he wrote. “To me, all of the thousands of people who came before me, who all had the ability but didn’t have the opportunity, who all paved the way for me and my generation, are the real valedictors. am just the first to officially own the title. “
It’s a message Muhammad reiterated in his inspiring farewell speech when he swore he “wouldn’t be the last” black man to take first place in his school. Throughout his speech, the 18-year-old also pointed out the challenges his classmates have faced in recent years and compared them to butterflies who have undergone an incredible transformation.
“I really wanted the speech to be as unique as possible for our promotion, which is why I focused on everything that we have overcome,” he explained. “My kindergarten graduation speech was also a butterfly analogy, and I thought it would be a good time to try and fit it into my high school graduation speech, while simultaneously acknowledging the seriousness of our trip. “
The graduate also praised all those who came before him who “had the ability but didn’t have the opportunity.”
“I owe it to them to appreciate this story made by the people who put me in this position. We owe it to them to make sure that even though I am the first black youth to be a valedictorian at our school, I will not be. the last, he said during his speech.
Muhammad ended his high school career with a GPA of 4.73 and challenged himself to take several courses at various colleges in addition to his regular course load, which included several advanced level courses. He was also a member of his school’s varsity basketball team.
The smart teenager, who applied to 11 colleges and was accepted into each, will be going to Stanford University in the fall and he’s already set some goals for himself.
“My goal for college is to learn as much as possible and apply my education to creating something lasting and impactful. I don’t know yet what that would be, but I hope this next education step will be a next step to be equipped to contribute to the world around me, ”he added.
When asked to describe Muhammad, Oakland Unified School District superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell called him an “incredible young man” and applauded his hard work and extracurricular activities.
“We are very proud of Ahmed’s history as Oakland Tech’s first black major over its 106-year history, and we know he will take the shine of Oakland with him as he he will tackle his next academic challenge at Stanford University, “Johnson-Trammell told TODAY via email.