OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- In order to accommodate all seniors outdoors this year, Oakland Tech will have four graduation ceremonies. Unfortunately, the valedictorian can only deliver one of them in person.
Ahmed Muhammad is the first Black male to be given that distinction in the history of the school.
The outdoor temperature was perfect for a class that has weathered many storms. Due to COVID protocols, this will be a staggered graduation ceremony with two graduations on Friday and two more on Saturday. All focusing on the resilience demonstrated by the class of 2021.
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Muhammad told ABC7 News he will highlight some of the issues they faced in his speech to be delivered in person Saturday.
"COVID, national reckoning with racism and police brutality, mass shootings and gun violence, striking for fair wages for our teachers," said Muhammad.
On Friday, a small group of graduating seniors heard a recorded speech given by the first Black male valedictorian. We asked him why it took so long for that acknowledgment.
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"I think it comes down to a lack of opportunity that existed for such a long time. I think now we're starting to see that we actually have the power to change it," he said
"He's like a role model for most Black boys especially at this school because he's the first Black boy to receive valedictorian which is an achievement," said fellow graduate Julia Allen.
Nivia Adams told us graduating was just another step toward her future.
"We're stepping into the real world, we have different choices, different paths," added Adams.
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"All the potential is within us and it's untapped and it's immeasurable and so if we keep working hard, we'll be able to accomplish what we want to accomplish," added Muhammad.
He will continue his journey in the fall when he will attend Stanford, where he plans to explore different engineering disciplines.
Meet 1st Black male valedictorian in Oakland Tech's 107 year history