A Florida high school senior made history twice thanks to his stellar grades and admirable work ethic.
Timi Adelakun is South Broward High School’s first Black valedictorian and earned the highest grade point average in the school’s history.
“As of now, it’s a 5.6045,” Adelakun told WSVN. “I think by graduation it’ll go a little bit higher, but that’s my number.”
The significance of these accomplishments is not lost on the 18-year-old.
“It’s good, especially the history breaking part, that me being the first black valedictorian, and also me having the highest GPA in my school,” Adelakun said. “It’s good to know.”
The 18-year-old took full advantage of opportunities to earn extra credits throughout his high school career, enabling him to boost his GPA far above the traditional scale that tops out at 4.0.
“South Broward sets you up to start off with college-level courses, so you’re pretty much in a good position GPA-wise,” he said to WSVN. “South Broward High School, which is an Ace Program school, and each Ace class is a college credit. At the same time, they offer AP courses, and at the same time they offer Broward College courses.”
Adelakun told the station he’s been taking all three of the courses offered.
“I’ve been taking over 20 college courses worth of credit, and because of that, my AP credits, my Ace credits and my dual enrollment credits boost my GPA,” he said.
Adelakun’s achievements did not come without any obstacles. His parents are from Nigeria, and when he was in elementary school his father was deported after 28 years in the United States. The family is still working to bring its patriarch back to the States.
“He was deported when we were all getting ready for school and that morning my mom was getting ready for work,” Adelakun told NBC Miami. “And we were kind of in fear of her getting deported too because she also wasn’t documented.”
The teen admitted he missed his father’s “physical presence and involvement” but he knows the situation was beyond his family’s control.
“He’s missed out and it’s not his fault. It’s not any of our fault,” Adelakun explained to ABC News.
Additionally, South Broward High is located in a low-income area in Hollywood, Florida. The fact that he’s the first Black valedictorian is indicative of the challenges other students may face.
“I think because we live in South Florida it came as more of shock because of how diverse we are, how much of a melting pot,” Adelakun said.
“This kind of speaks [to the fact] that even though everyone is living in the same area, everyone isn’t given the same opportunities.”
Adelakun will attend Pomona College in Claremont, California, on a full scholarship. He was accepted to several other schools, including Juilliard, Berkeley, Columbia University, and the University of Southern California.
“I chose that school ’cause it’s liberal arts, and I’m able to double major,” he said. “I’m doing molecular biology and theatre. As of now, I’m thinking I could like merge my love for the arts and maybe biology at the same time, like in the field of orthodontistry that uses aesthetics and biology at the same time. But as of now I’m really open, I’m not really sure set on anything.”
Because Adelakun took college courses in high school, he is used to post-secondary work. He’s excited for his journey through higher education.
“I’m excited to go onto new heights and kind of go out of my comfort zone,” he told WVSN.