Southeast’s Oldest High School for African Americans Graduates its 89th Class

One hundred seventy-three seniors from the combined schools of Booker T. Washington High School received their diplomas this weekend at an afternoon commencement ceremony held at the Atlanta Civic Center.

BTW2014-039The ceremony began with the acknowledgement that the Washington students were heirs of a legacy that began almost 90 years ago, when the Booker T. Washington doors opened as the first high school for blacks southeast of the Mississippi.

Washington has a has a long tradition of recognizing honorary graduation marshals, the Washington alumni celebrating their 50th graduation anniversary. After the acknowledgement, Washington alumni from the classes of ‘34, ‘44, ‘54, ‘74, ‘84, ‘94, 2004 entered from the wings.

One of the most compelling moments of the ceremony occurred when the Washington School of Health Science and Nutrition valedictorian, Brittany Crawford, shared how her life’s blueprint changed 11 years ago when she was hit by truck, which left her in a coma. Although doctors said she would not survive the accident, Brittney defied the prognosis, and today has achieved the honor of being the number one student in her class.

“My determination not to become a statistic was so strong it would not let me she accept defeat,” said Brittany.

She ended her speech by quoting Colin Powell: “A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”

Together The 173 class of 2014 Booker T. Washington High School received more than $10 million in scholarships.

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