A’myri Phillips and Cali Johnson of Dekaney High School became the school’s first African-American female valedictorian and salutatorian. The graduation ceremony was place on Friday, June 2, and both Phillips and Johnson spoke about their accomplishments and the obstacles they overcome to get there.
“I stand before you as a proud African-American woman who will be the first out of (my siblings) to go to college, who has overcome many obstacles to be standing here today,” Salutatorian Phillips said, according to Spring ISD. “I want to acknowledge the struggles many of us have faced as black students. From being underestimated and overlooked, to facing racial discrimination and microaggressions, we have had to navigate a system that was not always designed for our success. But through it all, we have persevered, we have shown up, worked hard, and defied expectations.”
Phillips will attend the University of Southern California to study to be a psychologist or cognitive behavioral therapist. Dekaney High valedictorian Johnson told her classmates to face the future with confidence and be pleased with coming this far.
“We should take in this moment, this ceremony, this day, and cherish it. Today is a commemoration of all we’ve strived for and the hard work we’ve put in to get here. We’ve yearned for this moment, we’ve earned this moment, and we’ve definitely earned this diploma. Today is our day,” Johnson said.
The Houston senior will attend the University of Texas in the fall and major in nursing.