Irving High School graduation was a big day for all its graduating seniors, but it was also a big day for the school. Madelyn "Maddie" Moore spoke as valedictorian, the first Black female student at Irving High School to hold the honor.
"I knew immediately she was exceptional," Moore's college prep teacher Liliana Middlebrooks said. "She jokes about being a 'try-hard,' and it's like, you're right; when smart people try hard the world is their oyster."
"Right now we are at a crossroads. The world as we know it is no longer," Moore said during her valedictorian speech. "We have the opportunity to rebuild it, to make it better. Now is the time. We must disobey and ask questions. Question your purpose and place in the world. Question if you are doing what is important to you, or what is expected of you. And most importantly, question the structures and systems of society."
Moore said it was important for others to see her as the school's first Black female valedictorian.
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"To see somebody that looks like you, who has done things that you don't believe to be possible, kind of just opens your eyes to a new reality that you can pursue," Moore said.
Moore's teachers were not surprised to see her finish at the top of her class among 638 other graduates.
"It was evident that she loved to learn," AP English teacher Luis Gonzalez said. "While she was concerned with grades, she was concerned with knowing the 'why' and 'how' of things, and making connections to the real world."
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Moore is leaving Irving High School bound for the Ivy League. She has a full-ride scholarship to Brown University.
"That was always my end goal, was college," Moore said.
Moore's mother was proud, but not surprised.
"Like, I did a good job. Like she did a great job," Moore's mother Michelle Henderson said, explaining how she felt. "I did a good job just maintaining that, giving her the space to be that person."
Moore wants to study neuroscience at Brown.