Student With 4.7 GPA Is First African American Male to Earn Valedictorian in School’s History

May 25, 2019 Updated: May 25, 2019

A Woodland High School senior has become the school’s first African American male to earn the title of valedictorian.

Rawlin Tate Jr., 18, who graduated from the Georgia high school on Friday, May 24, with a 4.7 GPA, and holds the highest grade point average in his class, has also earned himself over $1.2 million in scholarships.

Tate was also recently named a Georgia Scholar by the Georgia Department of Education.

Despite his excellent academic achievements, the 18-year-old remains humble, and says his success is down to hard work and perseverance.

“I’m not a genius,” Tate told Fox 5. “Stuff doesn’t just click all the time for me. I have to go in to tutoring. I have to study to see how I can get the correct answer.”

Tate added he often makes sure to ask for help if he doesn’t understand something.

“I always ask questions in class. I always go to my teachers. So, it’s a lot of behind the scenes work, as well,” he said.

“I was that kid that always asked for that extra point and people would ask, ‘Why you asking for that extra point?’ Because I want it basically,” he told 11Alive.

The lowest score Tate has ever received on a school transcript is 98, he said, and he was enrolled in 21 advanced placement courses during his time with the high school, reported FOX 5.

Among the 14 schools to offer Tate a a place are Ohio State, Florida A&M University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Howard, Rose Hulman, Hampton, University of Georgia, North Carolina A&T and Tuskegee, and others, according to Because of Them We Can.

Woodland High School congratulated the student in a Facebook post, while listing his academic achievements.

“You are an inspiration to many and we are so proud of all of your accomplishments,” the school said.

The scholar prides himself not only in his academic ability, but also in the wide variety of extracurricular activities he participated in during his time with Woodland High School.

Throughout his school career, Tate made time to play two varsity sports and become a member of the band, all while embracing his musical side and training as a recording artist and concert pianist.

“I believe music helps with academics as well,” he told 11Alive.

The student shared a celebratory video of himself singing to a Soulja Boy remix on his Twitter account, with the opening lyrics, “This right here is my swag, 4.7 GPA I just secured the bag.”

At the time of writing, the clip has been viewed almost 500,000 times.

“First African American male Valedictorian in Woodland History, 4.7 GPA I just secured the bag, #1 of my class for 7 years STRAIGHT, A Georgia Scholar, Over 1.2 million dollars in scholarships,” Tate wrote in a caption alongside the video.

The teenager also credits his ability to stay focused and his faith in God to his success.

“My advice to others is to always stay humble and do your best, and don’t get preoccupied with competing,” Tate told Because of Them We Can.

He has chosen to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering on a full academic scholarship with North Carolina A&T.

“I don’t really feel any pressure to stay number one in college, I’m just going there to get an education and explore more music,” he told 11Alive.