Last month, Albany Leadership Principal, Carina Cook, and ALH staff members visited the home of Rebecca Akinwale, Class of 2021 Valedictorian. The visit and celebration came as a surprise to her, but even more surprising is how historic Rebecca’s academic achievement is for Albany Leadership.

Rebecca is the second child in the Akinwale family to achieve Valedictorian status at Albany Leadership, after her sister, Tofunmi Akinwale, earned this prestigious distinction in 2014. In an interview, these amazing young women were asked about how they perceive this experience, celebrate each other’s accomplishments, and continue to show sisterhood to their classmates.

Here is a look at what Rebecca, ALH Class of 2021 had to say,

How does it feel to be the valedictorian of your graduating class?

Rebecca: “It feels rewarding because it’s proof that all my efforts have paid off. It also feels good to make my parents and family proud of me”.

What is your advice to your fellow graduates?

Rebecca: “My advice is to believe in yourself and utilize your skills/talents to your advantage”.

What is your advice to current students? (9th, 10th, and 11th graders)

Rebecca: “Foster good relationships with your teachers and staff and surround yourself with like-minded people who want you to succeed.  Having good support, whether it’s family, friends, or, is essential because nobody can succeed all by themselves. We all need some guidance and encouragement along the way”.

What is your reaction to being the first family in ALH history to have two valedictorians?

Rebecca: I’m surprised and, but it’s just a testament to our parent’s efforts, encouragement, and guidance. Overall, I feel proud of myself and my sister’s past achievements and I continue striving to be like her.

Here is what Tofunmi, ALH Class of 2014 had to say,

How does it feel to see your sister earn this grand accomplishment?

Tofunmi: “Seeing Rebecca become the Valedictorian of her class makes me a very proud sister. It’s a great culmination of all the hard work she’s put in academically these past 4 years in addition to being a well-rounded student”.

How did you feel when you were valedictorian of your graduating class?

Tofunmi: “I felt proud; proud of myself for working diligently at my academics to achieve such an award and to have made my parents proud”.

Did you give her any advice about high school or academics? If so, what was your advice?

Tofunmi: Be fearless! It’s better to fail than not try at all. Believe in yourself, and don’t depend on external validation.

What is your reaction to being the first family in ALH history to have two valedictorians?

Tofunmi: It’s a great honor to know both my sister and I have left a legacy for ourselves unknowingly. This once in a lifetime experience is something that I will forever cherish and share with my (little) sister. Being able to show to our parents that the sacrifices they made when migrating from Nigeria have not been in vain makes it all the more special.

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