Toryana Jackson, First African American Valedictorian in Henninger High School History


This has been a challenging year for high school student. Virtual classes, masks, a disruption in the daily functioning of attending school. However, out of the chaos came success stories. One of them is about Toryana Jackson, the First African American Valedictorian in Henninger High school history.

In a televised interview on Channel 3, Ms. Jackson was asked, how does it feel, not only to get through this challenging year but to make it out as a historic graduate at the same time?  Toryana’s response, “It feels amazing, I worked so hard for so many years and everything is playing out how I wanted it to. I’m just grateful. “

To be a part of history, how does that make you feel? “I feel excited, happy. I just had a lot of emotions. I’ve been working hard since 8th grade. I’ve been taking high school level classes back then, and when I got to the high school level, I had to take college level classes. It’s been a lot of years of hard work and dedication, staying focus in a pandemic keeping on top of my schoolwork. It just all came together, and it paid off at the end.”

Being the first, Jackson reflects on the impact of her achievement, “Feels great, I feel I can be a role model for younger girls that are my skin tone, because they can feel like they can be in the top two, or be at the top of their class too since it was done by me.”

Jackson’s message to the class of 2021 “I encourage them to stay positive, I know that the year hasn’t gone as we planned it to be, we made it through we’re about to graduate. So, focus on you goals and keep them in mind even through the hard times. “

Toryana Jackson, and her classmates will be graduating at 10 a.m. Sunday June 20, 2021 at NBT Bank Stadium. She will be attending Wellesley College, one of the most prestigious and highly respected institutions of higher education in the country on a full scholarship.

TV9 is airing a prime time special on June 22nd at 8 pm

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