Da’Vion Tatum, an 18-year-old from Houston, Texas, has achieved history as the first Black male valedictorian at Westfield High School. In addition, he is now enrolled at Harvard University, where he intends to inspire other young Black males to pursue their dreams without giving up.
“My story specifically can help other young Black men to know that just because society may say one thing about you, or there may be a stigma or stereotype that surrounds being a Black man, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confined to that,” Tatum told Fox 26 News.
The 18-year-old valedictorian has been accepted to many universities, including Ivy League schools, and has received more than $700,000 in scholarships.
Tatum decided to share his tale through his autobiography, Thriving In My Own Lane, after all of his success. He had been working on the book since he was in the eighth school, with the goal of demonstrating how he continued to flourish despite the opinions of others.
He comments, “I noticed that people didn’t see me in that light because I was a young Black man. They didn’t see me in the light of the next doctor, lawyer, engineer. The message I wanted to convey was we are more than just a stereotype. We are more than just thugs. We are more than athletes.”
He chose Harvard University to study Biomedical Engineering and Government with a combined major. He wants to contribute to engineering, medicine, and social justice developments in the future.