But Darrick Woods will also be the only one, because after this year, Clark High School is closing its doors after 89 years and relocating students to the new Hammond Central High School.
Woods has an impressive high school resume. He carries a 4.4 grade point average, is President of the National Honor Society and is also a multi-sport student-athlete, participating in baseball, basketball, swimming and cross-country. He also finds time in his busy schedule to volunteer in his community.
Woods said it's a proud moment for him to represent Clark as not only their last valedictorian, but also the first African-American in the school's history.
"I've always worked towards trying to be the valedictorian so it's a pretty proud moment for me and my family to be able to be up there today and give that speech," Woods said.
Darrick Woods has an impressive high school resume. He carries a 4.4 grade point average, is President of the National Honor Society and is also a multi-sport student-athlete. (Darrick Woods)
Last year was unlike any other for students across the nation, who had to face the challenges of learning amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Woods said adjusting to remote learning was a difficult task.
"I definitely thrive better in the in-person learning environment," Woods said. "It was definitely hard to stay motivated and attend class and be in school and want to do the work. But I think me and the rest of my class, we pushed through it and it's a testament to the fact that we are strong perserverers because we're all graduating today."
While the valedictorian speech he will deliver Wednesday will be his first big public speaking engagement, Woods hopes his fellow classmates find inspiration in his words.
Darrick Woods will be attending Northwestern University in the fall on a full ride scholarship where he will study pre-med. (Darrick Woods)
"I just hope that I can inspire my classmates and everybody else in the community to just never give up on reaching their goals no matter what roadblocks or obstacles they have to deal with, whether they're external or internal, just keep pushing and work hard," Woods said.
Woods will be attending Northwestern University in the fall on a full ride scholarship where he will study pre-med.
"I actually plan on studying neuroscience and hopefully to be a neurologist, come back to the area where I grew up and practice here," he said.