He’s the first but hoping he won’t be the last.
An Oakland senior is making history as his school’s first Black male valedictorian, KTVU reports.
Ahmed Muhammad is a senior at Oakland Technical High School. The teen has experienced his full high school career, despite a large portion of his senior year being impacted by last year's chaos. In addition to excelling academically, Muhammad was also a star player on his varsity basketball team and served as a tutor and mentor to elementary and middle school children. He did all this while creating Kits Cubed, a science education company that has supplied affordable science kits to thousands of schools around the Oakland area with the help of local influencers like Oakland Tech alumnus and NFL star Marshawn Lynch.
Photo Courtesy of Ahmed Muhammad/Kits Cubed
“Founding Kits Cubed was the culmination of all of the valuable lessons I learned throughout high school from so many amazing people...I’m glad we were able to create something meaningful before graduating,” Muhammad said.
The 18-year-old has the highest academic rank in his class, earning a 4.73 GPA and an SAT score of 1540 with a 740 in the Reading and Writing section and a perfect 800 score in the math section. He’s been accepted to all 11 universities he’s applied to, receiving financial aid from every single one. He has yet to make his final choice. Still, his options are extensive, including the University of Southern California, Columbia University, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Davis, Howard University, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and his dream school, Stanford.
“It feels amazing. I’m grateful to be accepted to any single college, but 11 of them? I had never imagined this,” Muhammed told reporters.
Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said she’s not surprised that Muhammad is high in demand.
“...It’s no surprise that many great universities want him as their student next year... [He is] an amazing young man, the true personification of the brilliance of Oakland students...We are so proud that he will be the first Black male valedictorian at Oakland Technical High School. It’s hard to imagine anyone being a better choice to represent their class. We know our future is in good hands with people like him leading the way,” Johnson-Trammell said.
Muhammad has several mentors in his life and role models that he’s used as inspiration, but his greatest influence is his father, a fire captain who served three decades with the Oakland Fire Department. Muhammad’s mother, a Cambodian immigrant, and his father worked hard to afford him the best life, building a real estate business together and showing their son the true value of hard work and dedication.
“[My father] taught me everything that I know and continues to teach me each and every day. By watching him, I’ve learned what wisdom, hard work, passion, commitment, caring, and so many other values are, and I hope that one day I can be as great of a son as he is a father,” said Muhammad.
He will soon narrow down his final college choice, with plans to major in engineering while simultaneously studying public policy and urban studies, learning the value of interdisciplinary studies from his work with Kits Cubed. He added that one of the biggest things he’s learned during the pandemic is staying present and enjoying the moment. He hopes his story inspires others to dream big.
“Being named valedictorian is a dream come true. I hope that me being class valedictorian inspires others from similar backgrounds to do the same...My advice is to never stop dreaming, and while in pursuit of your dreams, make sure to implement a foundation in your life that can serve you no matter what it is you want to accomplish. Dreams are powerful and dynamic, and by having a foundation of good habits, you’ll be able to achieve your wildest dreams even as they, and you, change,” said Muhammad.
Congratulations, Ahmed, Oakland Tech’s Class of 2021 valedictorian!
Photo Courtesy of KTVU