S.B. Valedictorian Shares Story of Perseverance
From twin sister valedictorians who have had nearly every class together since kindergarten to a self-driven Latina who was once afraid to speak English and now plans to become a lawyer, San Bernardino City Unified School District’s Class of 2018 has produced many stellar graduates.
There’s Jalen Stevenson, who is making history not because he’s among nine Cajon High School seniors graduating at the top of their class. Jalen, 17, is the only African-American valedictorian at Cajon High and the District this year.
A native of San Bernardino who attended North Park Elementary and Richardson PREP HI Middle School, Jalen is the first in his family to go to college. He is headed to UCLA to study psychology, with plans to be a psychiatrist or marriage and family therapist. Although Jalen never set out to be valedictorian, the achievement has empowered him to be a role model for younger students.
“Humbly speaking, I do feel I am a role model for young African-American males,” said Jalen, who was accepted to nearly every college where he applied. “I’m a testament to the potential of our city. The students like me, who graduate from high schools in San Bernardino amid struggles and tribulations, we worked so much harder to earn our diplomas.”
Jalen hopes to return to San Bernardino often while at UCLA to motivate students to work hard for their goals.