Tracey Meares, ’91, Honored as Valedictorian 38 Years Later

Black Woman Named Valedictorian 38 Years After Highschool Snub

After 38 years of being overlooked, a Black woman was finally named valedictorian of her Illinois high school.

According to The State Journal-Register, Tracey Meares was 17 when she topped her class at Springfield High School in 1984, paving the way for her to become the school’s first Black valedictorian.

However, that same year, the school chose instead to honor the year’s top performers rather than the traditional valedictorian and salutatorian titles. Due to that change, Meares was declared “top student” – alongside Heather Russell, a white student.

Read more at Essence