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One studious young lady from New York has made history at Benjamin Cardozo High School!

Shanelle Davis of Queens is the head of her class! The hard-working senior has become the first African-American valedictorian at Cardozo High. “It’s an incredible honor. It’s still surreal to me,” she gushed to 1010 WINS.

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The achievement came as a total shock to Shanelle, and the full impact of it didn’t hit her all at once.

“Out of 845 students and mine said number one,” she recalled, adding that the Cardozo faculty revealed how significant that ranking was. “Afterward I was speaking to administration in the school and they’re like ‘you know we’ve never had an African-American (valedictorian) before.’ Then that’s how I found out.”

Cardozo High is populated by students of many different races and ethnicities, but valedictorians have typically been Asian and white. Now that she’s the first black student to earn the honor, Shanelle is hoping that there will be many more after her.

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“School is like, it’s very diverse, but it’s predominantly Asian. So most African-Americans in the school think that OK so since there’s been like always an Asian or a white valedictorian that they can’t do it,” said Shanelle. “I can be an example for them to show that they can also do it. So maybe next year they’ll have another African-American one.”


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BEAUTIFUL NEWS: Queens Student Becomes First Black Valedictorian At Cardozo High School  was originally published on