Scholars Digest

17-year-old Jessica Otitigbe Becomes the First Black Woman to Bag Best Student Award at Albany High School

Jessica Otitigbe, a remarkable 17-year-old from Albany High School in New York, became the institution’s first-ever black valedictorian, shattering a record that had stood for 152 years.


With a stellar 4.0 GPA, Jessica Otitigbe graduated ahead of all of her peers and won the coveted honor.

Jessica Otitigbe told GMA, “It’s amazing and incredibly odd to me, especially hearing from Black girls from different schools who reached out to me, saying, ‘It was so good to have one of us in there.'”

Jessica Otitigbe stated that she was honored to represent the black community in addition to breaking her school’s record.

It’s not truly a victory for just me; it’s a victory for my neighborhood. Now I feel accountable. I’m not just speaking for myself. I speak for a group of individuals, she declared.

During Jessica Otitigbe’s time at school, Onovu Otitigbe-Dangerfield made sure her presence was noticed. She served as co-captain of the soccer team, president of many school groups, and co-editor-in-chief of the digital school newspaper.


According to GMA, Onovu adores robotics since her favorite school topics are engineering classes (robotics, computer science), which are helping her get a pre-engineering certificate.

Jessica Otitigbe, Onovu’s mother, expressed her joy at her daughter’s world record-breaking achievement.

I’m amazed by her interest, respect, empathy, humility, and work ethic as a mom. Knowing that this is historical is beyond fantastic because Albany High is the same high school I attended, said Jessica.

“We simply feel proud. We’re in the college selection phase,” she continued.

Onovu wants to pursue a career in pediatric neurosurgery with a focus on robotic surgery. She submitted applications to more than 20 American universities and was granted admission to institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, Boston University, Northeastern, Georgia Tech, Johns Hopkins, and others.

I’m amazed by her interest, respect, empathy, humility, and work ethic as a mom. Knowing that this is a part of history is helpful because Albany High is the same high school I attended. It’s beyond incredible,” Jessica stated.

CTA on Jessica Otitigbe’s Story

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