Student Spotlight: Senior makes school history as 1st African American Valedictorian

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Kiarra Blake-Wade is a senior at James Island Charter High School. Through high expectations and hard work, she was awarded Valedictorian for the Class of 2020; an accomplishment that will make history.

Blake-Wade is the oldest of four girls. Her mother, Stephanie Blake, says that she has set an example for her younger sisters.

“She’s very studious, very hard-working and very driven. Lots of late nights studying and doing homework on the weekends,” says Blake.

Blake-Wade describes her academic career with “hills and valleys.” She says that there were periods of time when she struggled, however, was able to overcome those challenges.

Her family was thrilled to find out she would be this year’s Valedictorian. Their pride grew larger when they discovered that she is the first African American Valedictorian at James Island Charter High School.

“Our family, my dad’s side, grew up on John’s Island during the slave days,” says Blake. “So, this is quite the accomplishment. It’s exceptional.”

Adding to her accomplishments, Blake-Wade has received a full-ride scholarship to Clemson University. She plans to study Mechanical Engineering come this fall.

“I want to work for a firm where I can travel the world and get to see different places,” she says. “I want to make an impact in my community, not just Charleston, but even globally.”

James Island Charter High School plans to hold virtual graduation ceremonies in early June. For more information, click here.

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