O-novu Otitigbe Dangerfield, a senior at Albany High School in upstate New York, has made history as the school’s first Black valedictorian since 1868.
“I think that just being able to be valedictorian is an amazing accomplishment,” Onuvu told WNYT. “I’m very privileged to be in that position but to have some historical meaning behind it, to have a position wherein my school there’s a lot of students who look like me, now I’ll have an opportunity to live by that mantra — if you can see it you can be it.”
Aside from having a nearly perfect GPA, she is also very involved in various extra-curricular activities. She is a member of the soccer team, the Select Choir, and the Jazz Improve Band where she plays violin and piano. She is also the President of the robotics team, President of the Key Club, and the Editor-in-Chief of the school’s online newspaper.
When she’s not at school on weekends, she also goes to work at a nursing home. She credits all these activities to providing her a broader perspective in life.
“She is definitely a treasure,” said Ellen Hurley Green, who was Onovu’s guidance counselor in middle school. “I’ve been in the district for 30 years and honestly I can’t say I’ve ever seen someone with so much poise, so much grace, and so much humility, along with so much sparkle in everything she does.”
Moreover, Onuvu has been accepted at several universities including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Georgia Tech, among others.