Students at a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina witnessed history during this year’s graduation ceremony. Alecia Washington is the school’s first Black valedictorian in 100 years.

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Alecia Washington Makes History

Washington not only graduated from R.J. Reynolds High School as valedictorian, but she also graduated from college. The young scholar graduated from Forsyth Technical Community College with an associate’s degree. Washington credits her support system for helping her achieve so much at such a young age. That includes her great-grandmother who Washington says taught her a very valuable lesson.

“If you’re going to invest in anything, invest in yourself,” she said to WXII12 about what her great-grandmother taught her. “Invest in getting a good education and expand your knowledge because that is nothing nobody can take away.”

Washington kept those motivational words from her great-grandmother with her along her educational journey graduating twice in the span of two months. Now, she’s ready for the next chapter of her life. She says that her journey so far wasn’t just for herself, but also for others who look up to her.

“When I started thinking, this is so much bigger than me, like representation matters. I know that’s important. I know from experience, representation definitely matters. When you see somebody that looks like you, and something you want to do, or passionate about, it makes a huge difference. It’s not something I take lightly at all,” she said.

Washington is looking forward to what the future has to offer her.

“It’s a new chapter. I’m going into adulthood. I’m going to be living on my own in college,” she explained to the outlet.

The young graduate will be attending UNC Charlotte on a full academic scholarship with big dreams of becoming a pediatric nurse anesthetist.