A 17-year-old girl named Ashanti Palmer has emerged the overall best graduating student of Nellie A. Thornton High School and was awarded 430,000 dollar scholarship to study at the university.
Ashanti Palmer graduated from Nellie A. Thornton High School with an honors grade. She was awarded the valedictorian of the 2020 graduating class.
Ashanti did not only graduate as her school best student, she was also honored for having perfect attendance in the entirety of her educational experience in the Mount Vernon City School District since she started school.
“There were days when I didn’t feel like going to school, but I knew if you missed a day then you were behind, so I pushed through. My friends know I hate being behind in my work so it was normal for me to show up,” she said.
Ashanti said being named valedictorian feels rewarding for her, as it signifies that her years of hard work have been fruitful and are now being celebrated in a significant manner. “Being named valedictorian feels good because it shows that all the hard work I’ve put in over the years has paid off, and that effort is being celebrated in a big way,” Ashanti said.
“In terms of my perfect attendance, it wasn’t something that I sought out. I knew that showing up to school every day was important because even missing one day can set you back. It wasn’t until 10th grade that I realized I hadn’t missed a day, and then I wanted to keep up the streak,” she added.
Nellie A. Thornton High School’s Principal said Ashanti has always been determined to be a winner because she was focused, hardworking, and was never distracted.
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‘We have a student who’s never missed school and who has been on the honor roll since kindergarten.’ How do we celebrate this child so other students can see that it’s possible? She stayed on the path. She stayed on the journey. It’s phenomenal,” she said.
Ashanti said she plans on pursuing a biomedical engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), United States.