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Houston Seniors Make History As First Black Women Valedictorian and Salutatorian At Dekaney High School

Houston Seniors Make History As First Black Women Valedictorian and Salutatorian At Dekaney High School

It’s a proud moment!

A’myri Phillips and Cali Johnson both just graduated from Dekaney High School in Houston, Texas, Spring ISD reports. Accomplished students, both girls fought through personal obstacles to excel academically. Now their hard work has paid off, both A’myri and Cali making history as the first Black women salutatorian and valedictorian of their graduating class. 

The ceremony was held on Friday, June 2nd and the historic moment was not lost on either of the girls. Both spoke about their time at Dekaney, how it shaped them and prepared them for what’s next, noting that the high moments were not without their fair share of challenges. 

“From being underestimated and overlooked, to facing racial discrimination and microaggressions, we have had to navigate a system that was not always designed for our success,” said A’myri. 

A first-generation college student, the Dekaney High salutatorian will be headed to the college in the fall where she hopes to pursue a career as a psychologist or cognitive behavioral therapist. 

“I stand before you as a proud African-American woman who will be the first out of [my siblings] to go to college, who has overcome many obstacles to be standing here today. I want to acknowledge the struggles many of us have faced as Black students…But through it all, we have persevered, we have shown up, worked hard, and defied expectations,” A’myri added. 

Cali, the 2023 Dekaney valedictorian also addressed her peers, reminding them to embrace the future and be proud of all they’ve accomplished thus far. 

“We should take in this moment, this ceremony, this day, and cherish it. Today is a commemoration of all we’ve strived for and the hard work we’ve put in to get here. We’ve yearned for this moment, we’ve earned this moment, and we’ve definitely earned this diploma. Today is our day,” said Cali. 

A’myri has plans to attend the University of Southern California with Cali enrolled at the University of Texas this fall, where she plans to major in nursing. Congratulations ladies! The sky’s the limit.

Cover photo: Houston seniors make history as first Black women valedictorian and salutatorian at Dekaney High School/(l to r) Valedictorian Cali Johnson & Salutatorian A’myri Phillips/Photo Courtesy of Spring ISD