OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Graduation day is always special for high school seniors, but there was just a little extra pride when Oakland Tech held its commencement ceremony Saturday.
When Ahmed Muhammad walked up to the microphone, he became the first Black male to ever give the valedictorian address.
A straight-A student, star athlete and young entrepreneur, Muhammad had nearly a dozen of the country’s best schools among them Stanford, Princeton and Harvard to just name a few hoping he would attend their university next year.
Ultimately, he has chosen to stay close to home and attend Stanford in the Fall where he will study engineering.
Muhammad and his classmates faced many obstacles on their way to graduation, but none greater than the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a year of remote learning completely disrupted their high school experience.
“We are the class of social distancing and N95 masks,” he told his classmates. “And we are the class of Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian American and Pacific Islander hate. Yes, we’re the class that has obnoxious TikTok dances.”
“We’ve been in our proverbial cocoon over the last year or so,” Muhmmad added. “But today, Class of 2021, we emerge new. We have matured into something special. If we know nothing else, we know we are capable. Within every single one of us exists potential. Untapped and immeasurable.”
While Muhammad noted his achievement, he said many of his classmates were also creating their own historical moment.
“While I may be the first young Black man to be our school’s Valedictorian, I won’t be the last,” he said. “I’m not the only first in this crowd. Many of us here are the first in our family to live in America, the first to graduate high school, and will be the first to attend college.”