Houston student makes history as first African-American Valedictorian
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - One of the smartest young men in Houston is making history after being the first at his high school to achieve a major accomplishment.
Do you know what a 4.57 grade point average can get you? It has secured Kellin McGowan a spot in history. He is St. Thomas High School's first ever African American Valedictorian.
“Kellin, awesome job, seriously. I'm super proud of you,” smiles Kellin’s principal Aaron Dominguez as he shakes his hand. In fact, as I walked with Kellin in the hall between classes, he was given plenty of high fives and several “Kelliiiiiiin” calls from his classmates. The accolades for this amazing youngster just keep coming.
“Kellin has always been an academic stud. Just an all-around great kid,” smiles Principal Dominguez.
All of the celebratory salutations for Kellin are very well deserved.
“It's crazy to think about how after 119 years, I'm the first African-American Valedictorian,” says Kellin.
The doors opened at Houston's St. Thomas High School back in 1900. The first black student enrolled in the early 1940's. Decades later, believe it or not, St. Thomas just now has its first African-American Valedictorian.
“It's surprising but I'm glad these barriers are being broken,” says the 17-year-old.
What was it like for Kellin to come to the realization, he's not only at the top of his class but also making history?
”It was a mixture of 'Yes I did it' and 'Wow, mind blown'. I’m excited," he said.
It's an accomplishment this super smart senior wasn't even trying to achieve.
"My parents always taught me to try my best. In order to do so, I took a ton of challenging courses," he said.
“I'm so happy for his mom and dad. They are phenomenal people and I know, like all parents, they make tremendous sacrifices for him to be here,” says Dominguez.
Kellin is on student council and volunteers at his church.
“I help with the two and three year olds at my church every Sunday. It's actually quite fun. I'm going to miss them," he said.
He’s headed to University of Chicago to study Political Science. Kellin plans to become a lawyer.
“I'm looking at Immigration Law, because I just want to help people seeking better lives and I believe I can do so," he said. "I believe you can do anything you want."
Kellin’s tips to other youngsters are finish what you start, and don't be afraid to ask for help and study.