From Houston to Harvard!
A Texas student who made history as the first Black male valedictorian at his high school is now headed to the Ivy Leagues and telling his story to inspire others, Fox 2 Houston reports.
Da’Vion Tatum made history as the first Black male valedictorian at Westfield High School. He also received almost three-quarters of a million dollars in scholarships and got accepted to 11 of the best schools in the world. Now, he’s headed to Harvard and hoping that his story will help inspire other young Black men to believe in themselves and their own abilities.
“My story specifically can help other young Black men to know that just because society may say one thing about you, or there may be a stigma or stereotype that surrounds being a Black man, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confined to that,” Tatum explained.
The teen says he has always excelled academically, starting to write a book about himself and his abilities when he was just in the 8th grade. After getting accepted to a number of schools, including Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown and UPenn, the 18-year-old finished his autobiography, “Thriving In My Own Lane.”
“It was to show that regardless of what’s happening around me, I’m going to continue thriving in my own lane. I’m going to continue pushing for equity, inclusivity, and justice...I noticed that people didn’t see me in that light, [thriving academically], because I was a young Black man. They didn’t see me in the light of the next doctor, lawyer, engineer. The message I wanted to convey was we are more than just a stereotype. We are more than just thugs. We are more than athletes,” Tatum said.
Now he’s headed to Harvard, fueled by the motivation to make his mom, family and hometown proud. He encourages everyone to let positive words envelope their minds and hearts and stands by his philosophy on life.
“Mae Jemison said never be limited by another person’s limited imagination and Martin Luther King said life’s most urgent and persistent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’ and when you combine those two that’s kind of what I live by,” Tatum said.
His plan is to pursue a double major in biomedical engineering and government. He has a goal of utilizing engineering, medicine, and law to further scientific innovation and social justice issues. He hopes that his story inspires others to not only believe in themselves but thrive and view themselves as their own competition.
“I think that’s the key. We shouldn’t always try to compete with others. We should really just try to compete with ourselves and when you do that, you’re going to keep bettering yourself,” Tatum said.
You're on the road to greatness, Da’Vion. Congratulations!
Photo Courtesy of AfroTech