Timi Adelakun, born to Nigerian parents, has become the first black valedictorian of South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida. He also has a 5.604 GPA, the highest ever recorded at the school.
The 18 year old is the youngest child of three siblings and neither of his parents attended college.
He was accepted to nearly a dozen colleges, including Columbia University, the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California.
But Adelakun prefers Pomona College, a private liberal arts college in Claremont, California. He said the school offered him a full scholarship. The school also meets the criteria of the kind of school he desires.
Adelakun’s family faced some financial obstacles over the years. His father, who came to the United States in 1981, however returned to Nigeria about 10 years ago. The family is still fighting to bring him back to the country.
Despite his father’s absence since his first grade, young Adelakun helped his mother pay bills through his side hustles, such as graphic design and photography. He also walked to school when he missed the bus.
“He left when I was in the first grade. … I miss his physical presence and involvement,” Adelakun said in an interview with ABC News. “He’s missed out and it’s not his fault. It’s not any of our fault,” Adelakun said.
He has served as the district representative for the school’s award-winning theater competition and the vice president for physics club.
Adelakun will deliver a speech during South Broward High School’s virtual ceremony in June, but he hasn’t narrowed down his exact remarks. He said he plans to provide “some positive reinforcement” for the class of 2020 in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.