3 Clewiston High School seniors make history

Published: May 12, 2022 5:14 PM EDT
Updated: May 12, 2022 6:18 PM EDT

Three students are making history. For the first time ever at Clewiston High School, the top three in the graduating class are African-American students.

The three high school seniors and best friends ranked one, two and three in a graduating class.

“It is actually something that can’t be put into words, especially in this town, Clewiston you know you don’t see this at all. You never see this and to do it with my best friends, my family, and to achieve something so great, so high of an honor is just extraordinary,” said Zanaya Tulloch, valedictorian at Clewiston High School.

“Ever since the beginning, I’ve said education is my way out of Clewiston. It is definitely more for me to see in this world so I said that I have to get what I want. I’m going to get my good grades,” said Chris’shariea Hardy, salutatorian at Clewiston High School.

“I knew that in order for me to be successful in what I wanted to do I had to get into that right mindset and put my grades first,” said Chassity Stinson, who ranked third at Clewiston High School.

Making it to the top was at times challenging. These three ladies had much to overcome outside the classroom. Hardy said she struggled with her identity and self-esteem. Tulloch battles the autoimmune disease lupus.

“I would come to school sometimes with flares, breakouts. It would just be sometimes very tiresome to come to school,” said Tulloch. “That just made me push even harder to not prove only to myself but to others that I am capable.”

Stinson suffered the loss of her dad during her sophomore year. “It was something that I really struggled with,” said Stinson.

Despite their struggles, these three defied the odds together and will graduate from Clewiston High School together.

“My dad would be so proud,” Stinson said.

“When I walk across that stage I’m not just walking for me. I’m walking for my little sister. I’m walking from my older siblings. I’m walking for my aunties, my uncles, my dad my mom,” said Hardy. “I’m walking for the people that can’t walk for themselves.”

They are walking to show those who come after them that they too can defy the odds.

Graduation is Friday. Then those three impressive young women will head to Florida State University together, armed with scholarships.

Tulloch wants to be a dentist, Stinson wants to be a nurse, and Hardy wants to be a clinical psychologist.