Caribbean pride soars on Mr Nicholas Johnson’s achievements

Mr. Nicholas Johnson, Princeton's 2020 Valedictorian
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“It’s very empowering for me to have been selected for this honour; and it really does mean a lot to me, particularly given Princeton’s ties to the institution of slavery. I hope that this can serve as inspiration to younger black students, particularly those in STEM fields.” – Mr Nicholas Johnson, Princeton University’s 2020 valedictorian.


(Jamaica Observer) Amid all the gloomy COVID-19 stories over the past few months comes a most exhilarating report about young Mr Nicholas Johnson who has been named Princeton University’s 2020 valedictorian.

The elements that have made this story so refreshing for us are that Mr Johnson is the New Jersey Ivy League school’s first black valedictorian in its 274-year history; as well as the fact that he has Caribbean heritage — his father being Bahamian and his mother Jamaican.

Mr Johnson was no doubt very well raised by his parents and most likely applied, throughout his years in school, the tenets of hard work, discipline, and commitment that he learnt from them.

In fact, news reports in the United States have quoted Princeton’s professor of operations research and financial engineering, Mr William Massey, who taught Mr Johnson, as saying that he quickly recognised Mr Johnson’s brilliance.

“He was just very, very outstanding, very personable, with a wide range of interests,” Professor Massey said.

Naming Mr Johnson as valedictorian is really a big move by Princeton, as the university — whose first nine presidents were all slave owners and which had enslaved people living in its President’s House until 1822 — has, in recent years, been struggling to deal with its antecedents.

Read more at: Jamaica Observer

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