She Just Became The First Black Valedictorian In This School’s 152-Year History


March 30, 2021

She’s left her mark!

A New York senior makes history as the first Black valedictorian at her high schoolWNYT reports.


Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield is a senior at Albany High School in Albany, NY. She’s always worked hard academically while also being active in several extracurricular activities. She’s president of the robotics team, president of the Key Club, and editor-in-chief of the school’s online newspaper. She’s also a member of the Select Choir, a violinist, a pianist in the Jazz Improve Band, and a soccer team member. If that wasn’t enough, on the weekends, she volunteers at a local nursing home.

The senior is now winding down her high school career with an almost perfect GPA. She’s graduating at the top of her class and is now valedictorian, the first in the school’s 152-year history.


“I think that just being able to be valedictorian is an amazing accomplishment. I’m very privileged to be in that position but to have some historical meaning behind it, to have a position where in my school there’s a lot of students who look like me, now I’ll have an opportunity to live by that mantra –if you can see it you can be it,” Onovu told reporters.

Onovu’s time in high school has allowed her to expand her horizons and expand her understanding of what’s possible. Her guidance counselor, Ellen Hurley Green, says that Onovu is definitely a role model for other students and girls.


“She is definitely a treasure. I’ve been in the district for 30 years and honestly I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone with so much poise, so much grace, and so much humility, along with so much sparkle in everything she does. She’s a role model for girls…a role model for students of color too, and I think those things are something that we always have to hang on to,” said Hurley Green.

The teen has already been accepted into a number of colleges, including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Georgia Tech. When asked how she was able to accomplish so much, Onovu admits it was the doubt of others that served as her motivation.

“I think one of the things about me is if you tell me I can’t do something, I’m going to do it,” she said.


Onovu said she believes it’s nice to be first at something, but it’s more important not to be the last.

Congratulations Onovu!

Photo Courtesy of WNYT


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