Houston Teen Becomes First Black Valedictorian To Graduate From St. Thomas High School In 119 Years

Kellin McGowan plans to attend the University of Chicago to major in political science.

A Houston high school senior made history by becoming the first Black valedictorian in his school’s 119-year history.

Kellin McGowan who attends, St. Thomas High School, said he was shocked to learn he was the first Black valedictorian at his school.

"By being valedictorian, I think that I can change some people's perspective about my race specifically," McGowan told KHOU.

  • (Photo: St. Thomas High School)
    (Photo: St. Thomas High School)
  • McGowan’s academic success has also landed him a permanent spot in the all-boys Catholic school’s elite St. Thomas Club, which is a group for students who maintain a minimum 4.0 grade point average for seven consecutive semesters.

    McGowan has a 4.57 GPA.

    On top of his grade point average, McGowan is also the secretary of the National Honor Society.

    In addition to his scholastic achievements, McGowan also received the Albert R. Gaelens Award, which is given to the student who best exemplifies the school's motto, “Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.”

    English faculty member Darrell Yarbrough described McGowan as “a superhero (with) a cloak of humility. You will never meet a nicer person. Jesus tells us that the meek will inherit the earth. This means McGowen will someday own it. But he is so nice, he will allow us to stay. His superpower is his lightning-fast intellect … not quite omniscient … but he invests so much devouring news, facts and the overall goings on in the world that he is close to knowing it all.”

    "We don't have to know everything - that is God's job. And Kellin McGowan is God's superhero," Yarbrough added.

    In the fall, McGowan plans to attend the University of Chicago to major in political science. He then hopes to attend law school with aspirations of becoming an immigration attorney.  

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