DeKalb, IL — A Florida teen was set to graduate high school with over a 5.0 grade point average and more than 200 hours of community service under his belt but to his surprise his high school didn’t recognize him for his achievements.
Alto Tarver was ready to graduate with summa cum laude status, in addition to his achievements in sports, including team, basketball and football. But at the senior award ceremony, he found that he was only acknowledged for his sports participation.
“I was looking for my name, and I had seen it under physical education,” Tarver told Fox 4 News. “I felt almost betrayed.”
He felt like he was forced back into a stereotype of what a Black student athlete is.
“I feel like them giving me the PE award kind of put me back into that box that I tried so hard to get out of,” he said, according to Fox 4 News. “It felt bad to feel like they only cared about my athletics, and how good I could make the school look.”
After not being recognized by his high school, the principal nominated him for a statewide academic award and wrote a letter of recommendation for his college applications.
Tarver will attend Florida State University to study criminal justice and minor in business, thanks to an academic scholarship given to him by the university in light of the very academic achievements overlooked by his high school.