SPRING, TX - A young man who made history here in Houston becoming the first Black male valedictorian at his high school, who's now headed to Harvard, hopes to motivate other youngsters in this Positively Houston.
When you hear of someone enjoying such amazing success, receiving nearly three quarters of a million dollars in scholarships, being accepted into 11 of the best schools in the world you think there must be a formula. Well, Da’Vion Tatum is sharing what worked for him, to help inspire other young men.
"I was accepted into Stanford, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, UPenn," Tatum smiles and that’s actually only some of the universities the now Harvard-bound 18-year-old received acceptance letters from.
"My story specifically can help other young Black men to know that just because society may say one thing about you, or there may be a stigma or stereotype that surrounds being a Black man, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re confined to that."
The history making Westfield High School first Black male valedictorian has achieved so much success he finished an autobiography "Thriving In My Own Lane."
"It was to show that regardless of what’s happening around me, I’m going to continue thriving in my own lane. I’m going to continue pushing for equity, inclusivity, and justice."
It’s a book this inspiring, impressive intellect started writing back in 8th grade as he thrived in academics.
"I noticed that people didn’t see me in that light because I was a young Black man. They didn’t see me in the light of the next doctor, lawyer, engineer. The message I wanted to convey was we are more than just a stereotype. We are more than just thugs. We are more than athletes," says Tatum.
Even as he hopes his story inspires other youngsters he wants them to view themselves as their own competition.
"I think that’s the key. We shouldn’t always try to compete with others. We should really just try to compete with ourselves and when you do that, you're going to keep bettering yourself."
As this teen heads to Harvard, making his mom, family and his hometown proud, he has one more bit of motivation, always let positive words penetrate your heart and head.
"Mae Jemison said never be limited by another person’s limited imagination and Martin Luther King said life’s most urgent and persistent question is 'what are you doing for others?' and when you combine those two that’s kind of what I live by," Tatum smiles.
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When I asked him what’s his major, he told me "I’m pursuing a joint concentration in Biomedical Engineering and Government with a career goal of operating at the intersection of Engineering, Medicine and Law as a way to spearhead advancements in scientific innovation and social justice", to which I replied "Wow."
If you know someone making a positive difference, I would love to feature them on Positively Houston. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.