Houston Senior Becomes First Black Valedictorian in School’s 119 Year History


May 3, 2019

Some traditions are worth disrupting, and that’s exactly what Kellin McGowan just did. The high school senior just became the first Black valedictorian in the 119 year history of St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas.

The school is an all boys Catholic college prep school for students grades 9th through 12th.

His English teacher Darrell Yarbrough told KHOU11 that McGowan is “a superhero with a cloak of humility.”


Some of his superhero abilities include maintaining a 4.57 GPA and being selected for the Albert R. Gaelens Award; an award given to a senior who embodies the school motto of “Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge.”

McGowan hopes his accomplishment will help disrupt stereotypes.

“People have these misguided notions of what it means to be African-American… I hope they can see that there’s more to us than what they think.”


McGowan plans to study political science at the University of Chicago. From there he’ll attend law school and pursue his dream of becoming an immigration attorney. 

Congratulations Kellin! 

Photo credit: KHOU TV


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