18-year old Da’Vion Tatum has made history as the first Black male valedictorian at Westfield High School in Houston, Texas. Even more, he is now headed to Harvard University and hopes to inspire other young Black men to achieve their goals without giving up.
“My story specifically can help other young Black men to know that just because society may say one thing about you, or there may be a stigma or stereotype that surrounds being a Black man, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confined to that,” Tatum told Fox 26 News.
The 18-year old valedictorian has been awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships and accepted in several universities including Ivy League schools.
With all this success, Tatum wanted to share his story through his autobiography Thriving In My Own Lane. He had been writing the book since he was in 8th grade intending to show how he continued to succeed despite what other people think.
He comments, “I noticed that people didn’t see me in that light because I was a young Black man. They didn’t see me in the light of the next doctor, lawyer, engineer. The message I wanted to convey was we are more than just a stereotype. We are more than just thugs. We are more than athletes.”
He decided to attend Harvard University to pursue a joint concentration in Biomedical Engineering and Government. He plans to someday help in making advancements in engineering, medicine, and social justice.