Black Teen From Illinois With 4.54 GPA Breaks High School’s Record

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Nina Mitchell

Nationwide — In 2020, Nina Mitchell, a 17-year-old African American student from DeKalb, Illinois, made history when she became the first Black female valedictorian in her high school’s 159-year history. She also broke the high school’s record by earning a 4.54 GPA.

In her high school years, Mitchell served as president of the Honor Society and Key Club. She is also the founder of the Spanish Honor Society, a founding member of the peer mediation program, a member of the Spanish Club, and a part of the principal’s advisory board. She also enjoyed playing volleyball and track running.

Mitchell was very much involved in her community too. She was a legislative member of the Illinois YMCA Youth and Government, a member of the Youth Advisory Council, and a member of the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy, where she became the first Black chair.

Whenever she has free time, Mitchell enjoys reading and playing Scrabble with her two older brothers, who were also academic achievers and graduated 6th and 7th in their class. She credits her family for supporting her in her achievement.

“I didn’t get here alone,” she told Good Morning America. “My parents always set me up for success, and my brothers inspire me to do better.”

What’s more, she has always looked up to her grandmother Pearlene Carter, who also graduated a valedictorian from Walker High School in Coldwater, Mississippi in 1959.

“My grandma has always been an inspiration for me, and a role model,” she added. “She’s a force to be reckoned with. She’s always bragged about me to her friends and has made me feel so loved.”

Moreover, Mitchell was accepted to multiple universities she applied to, including Harvard, Stanford, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is currently a business honors student majoring in Finance and double minoring in Political Science & African American Studies.

After college, Mitchell plans to attend Harvard Law School where she will pursue a law degree and master’s degree in public policy.

“I was very humbled and honored,” she said. “I am representing Black students and female students. They can look up to me and say, ‘Wow. Nina did it, so I can do it.’ That was really important for me.”