Raylynn Thompson is set to graduate from Oklahoma’s Muskogee High School with a 4.7 GPA and as the No. 1 student her class, a feat she was told could never happen because of the color of her skin.
According to Tulsa World, Thompson was approached in Walmart by a woman who had seen her leaked transcript and was told: “Black people can’t be valedictorians.”
“That’s not the only racist comments I’ve heard … I just use those kinds of things to propel me,” the 18-year-old told the local news publication. “If you say I can’t do something, I’m going to go ahead and do it just to prove you wrong. I’m not going to let your words define me.”
Now that she has proved the naysayer wrong, Thompson has offered the woman an invitation to her graduation.
Contrary to the unidentified woman’s racist remark, the Muskogee High’s principal Kim Fleak revealed the school had previously had Black valedictorians.
In addition to being a top student at her high school, Thompson was also taking college course at both Indian Capital Technology Center and Connors State College. She earned more than 30 college credits.
The 18-year-old was also accepted into over 60 colleges, including Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M and the University of Missouri.The scholarship offers are approximately valued at $1 million. According to The Claremore Daily Progress, Thompson decided on Alcorn State University, a historically Black college located northwest of Lorman, Mississippi.
“Alcorn State not only offered me a full-ride (scholarship), they have the most undergraduates that go off to medical school,” she stated. “I know that they’re preparing their students fully for the future.”
Thompson’s goal is to become a neonatologist, a pediatric specialist focused on ill or premature newborns.
The Muskogee High School graduation will take place on May 25.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.