Student makes history as first black valedictorian at 119-year-old high school

Kellin McGowan has one more thing to be proud of on top of attending a prestigious college this fall. 

With a 4.57 GPA, the high school senior, who will enroll at the University of Chicago, is St. Thomas High School's first black valedictorian in the Houston school's 119-year history, according to KHOU

"By being valedictorian, I think that I can change some people's perspective about my race specifically," McGowan told the station. 

Founded in 1900, St. Thomas is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school that serves young men from 9th through 12th grade.

"The guys here are really competitive academically," the school's principal Aaron Dominguez told the station. "They support each other. They hold each other up, but they're also vying to be the very, very best." 

While McGowan stood out with his grades, he also impressed his fellow classmates and faculty members with his character. His peers, for example, selected him to receive the high school's Albert R. Gaelens Award, which is given to the person who best exemplifies St. Thomas' motto of "Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge." 

Many of McGowan's teachers showered him with praise, with one claiming that he was "God's superhero." 

"You will never meet a nicer person," English teacher Darrell Yarbrough told KHOU. 

Following his high school graduation, McGowan plans to major in political science and hopes to attend law school in the near future to become an immigration attorney. 

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