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Broward Senior Becomes First Black Valedictorian of His High School

  • Timi Adelakun, 18, was in first grade when his father was deported to Nigeria after living in the United States for 28 years.

    Yet he found a silver lining through education, becoming a stellar student and eventually making history.

    Timi Adelakun A 2020 graduate of South Broward High School in Hollywood, Fla., Adelakun was not only named the first black valedictorian of his high school, but also achieved the highest grade-point average in the school’s history, graduating with a 5.604. 

    "Coming from a low-income community, it means a lot in general because of the way I was brought up," Adelakun told ABC News.

    After his father was deported, his mother, who is also from Nigeria, raised him and his two older siblings. The family is still fighting to bring his father back to the country. While Adelakun deeply missed his father not being a part of his life, it also fueled his drive and motivation to succeed in academics.

    In high school, he took a heavy load of Advanced Placement classes as well as more than 20 college courses. He was also able to balance his love of science, particularly molecular biology, with his love for the theater.  The valedictorian served as the district representative for the school's award-winning theater competition and was a member of the Thespian Honors Society, while also serving as vice president of his school’s physics club.

    Adelakun was accepted to several colleges, including Columbia University, the Juilliard School and University of Southern California, but in the fall will attend Pomona College in California, which offered him a full-tuition scholarship.

    Due to the coronavirus pandemic he had to give his valedictorian speech during a virtual ceremony, but while planning the speech he said it would include his main mantra- “motivation.”

    “It’s just going to be something positive, a little bit of motivation for the class of 2020,” Adelakun said in an interview with WTJV.