Rawlin Tate, Jr. recently graduated with a 4.7 GPA, as the first African-American male valedictorian from Woodland High School.

Holding the highest grade point average in his senior class also helped him earn more than $1.2 million in scholarship.

Throughout his high school studies, Tate took 21 advanced placement courses and never earned anything lower than an A in all subjects.

The teen is now the first black male to hold the highest academic title at his school since it opened in 2007.


Tate Jr. told Good Morning America:

“The title, I don’t think about it that much. I know it’s significant, but I’ve just been doing what I’ve been doing [throughout] my schooling.”

He added:

“I’ve always been high achieving but to this degree — I’ve never really experienced this. I didn’t even know what a valedictorian was going into high school. I’ve just kept doing what I was doing, and now I’m here.”

Dad Rawlin Tate Sr. told GMA:

“I see it as a benchmark for other males and not only at Woodland, but at other locations. Rawlin succeeded in extracurricular and academics. This is the opportunity for other men to [say], ‘Hey, being smart is OK.'”

According to Woodland High School principal, Shannon Ellis, in addition to achieving high grades, Tate Jr. is also an accomplished pianist and a self-taught percussionist. He has also played varsity tennis and football and is an “artful rapper.”

Ellis added:

“He is brilliant, talented, a musical genius, and is one of the most well-rounded students that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.”

Celebrating his accomplishment, Tate Jr. posted a remix of Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” on his Twitter account. And in less than 24 hours, it had already garnered 250,000 views.

His opening line set the tone for the remake:

“This right here is my swag, 4.7 GPA I just secured the bag.”

But how did he do it while many have failed? Tate Jr. explained:

“I always asked questions, I always stayed for tutoring. I was that kid that always asked for that extra point, and people would ask, ‘Why you asking for that extra point?’ Because I want it basically.”

Recently named a Georgia Scholar by the Georgia Department of Education, Tate Jr.’s academic excellence earned him 14 college acceptance letters to schools like Ohio State, Florida A&M University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse, Howard, Rose Hulman, Hampton, University of Georgia, North Carolina A&T and Tuskegee amongst others.


But the scholar has decided to take his talent to North Carolina A&T. He’s attending on a full academic scholarship and is planning to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.