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San Francisco schools celebrate the 25th annual African American honor roll

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The ceremony honoring African American students included traditional African drumming, and each high achieving student was presented with an ancestral Kente cloth. (Courtesy photo)

February is African American History month and, in addition to going deeper into our history, we’ve also been celebrating the current and future contributions of our community members.

Last week, over 1,500 students from across the district were honored at the 25th annual African American Honor Roll Celebration. The celebration, sponsored by the San Francisco Alliance of Black School Educators, presented students in grades 3-12 who earned a 3.0 Grade Point Average (GPA) or higher, with a medallion, red ribbon, and certificate.

More than 100 students who earned a 4.0 GPA were given special recognition and presented with an ancestral Kente cloth. The program included student performances, traditional African drumming as well as words of congratulations, encouragement and motivation from Mayor London Breed and other community leaders.

This event celebrates academic achievement and encourages students to keep striving for excellence.

I want to tell you more about one of the many who was honored last week — the student who was both an honoree and an emcee at the honor roll celebration — Kamiah Brown.

According to her principal Dimitric Roseboro at Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School, Kamiah Brown is an outstanding scholar, passionate student advocate and top-tier athlete. Her incredible drive and ambition is a testament to her leadership not only at her school, but in the community as well.

Last November, Kamiah was one of the students honored for her outstanding academic work and accomplishments as a student leader at the San Francisco National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Branch 96th Freedom Fund Gala.

Academically, she maintains a 4.0-grade point average. Athletically, she’s a skilled center/forward on the girl’s varsity basketball team and is team captain and, in 2017, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) San Francisco section named her on their all-city list for the girls varsity 100 meter dash as one of the top 10 fastest female runners in San Francisco.

When she’s not on the court or field, Kamiah is an active student leader. At school, she’s a Youth Outreach Worker (YOW) collaborating with other students to hold in-class presentations and school-wide events to keep her peers informed about a number of issues that may impact them ranging from sexual health and drug/tobacco use to issues facing immigrant students.

Additionally, Kamiah is a Blue and White member at her school. Blue and White students are voted by teachers to help organize school events, open houses and even the school’s annual international dinner.

Her motivation? Her grandmother.

She says that seeing her grandmother smile at her accomplishments makes her happy and she just wants to make her family proud.

As a graduating senior, Kamiah hopes to attend Brown University and study psychology before going on to medical school and training to become a surgeon.

There are many African American students who, like Kamiah, are making their families and our entire city proud and contributing to their schools and communities by excelling as scholars and beyond. That’s something to celebrate.

Vincent Matthews is the superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District

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