Houston senior makes history as first African-American valedictorian at St. Thomas High School

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A St. Thomas High School senior is making history.

Student Kellin McGowan is the first African-American valedictorian in the school's 119-year history.

Kellin's academic achievements put him in an exclusive group of elite students, the prestigious St. Thomas Club, which is for students who maintain a minimum 4.0 grade point average for seven consecutive semesters. Kellin now has permanent membership.

He's also the secretary of the National Honor Society.

But his academic achievements are far from the only reason he is receiving acclaim.

McGowan received the Albert R. Gaelens Award, which is given to the student who best exemplifies the school's motto of Teach Me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.

English faculty member Darrell Yarbrough said McGowan is a "superhero (with) a cloak of humility." Yarbrough added that McGowan's superpower is "his lightning-fast intellect" because he is so aware of what's going on in the world around him.

"We don't have to know everything - that is God's job. And Kellin McGowan is God's superhero," Yarbrough continued.

Kellin will attend the University of Chicago to study political science with plans to go to law school.


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