Wisdom’s Class of 21 Valedictorian Takes Unique Path to the Top

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Elhadji Toure – Wisdom HS Class of 2021 Valedictorian

David Fanucchi, News Adviser

Emerging at the top of the list this year is senior Elhadji Toure – one of the unlikeliest of candidates to become Valedictorian that our school has had in years.
Toure is the nephew of Wisdom Math teacher Khady Toure, and the younger brother of 2018 Wisdom graduate Serigne Toure, who is currently studying at the University of Nebraska. After both were born here in Houston, they moved back to their parents’ native country of Senegal during their childhood, and elementary school days. There, they spoke the language of Wolof, and were being taught in French at school.
Then, when Elhadji and Serigne each reached the 8th grade, they came back to America to live with their aunt and uncle, in order to attend an HISD high school. Serigne was very successful, earning Salutatorian honors in his class. But three years later, his little brother has done him one better.
“Earning the Valedictorian title is truly a huge honor, to say the least,” said Elhadji. “Since freshman year, my aunt has been doing her absolute best to provide me with the adequate resources to excel as an english language learner. I hope that I have lived up to her expectations, and perhaps exceeded them.”
Toure hopes that his path to becoming the Valedictorian is a potential guide for other students who arrive in the United States with linguistic difficulties. He sees it as an opportunity to show everyone that no matter your background, race, ethnicity, or language, you CAN succeed. “With the right people behind you, along with hard work and dedication, anything you set your mind to can be done, even at Wisdom High School.”
Khady has seen the exceptional attention to detail, personal self-motivation, and incredible drive that Elhadji has deep within himself, that has enabled him to reach this point. “Elhadji is just different. He is very mature for his age and is such a quick learner. He has an incredible ability to absorb information and memorize it. I have never even had to help him with anything that is being taught here at Wisdom. He just knows what to do and how to do it.”
That level of comfort with his classwork and his knowledge, allowed Elhadji to spend time during his senior year taking classes remotely with his HISD laptop through Microsoft Teams meetings.
“Tele-studying (working virtually) has been an amazing experience. It does have its drawbacks, however, it has prompted me to organize myself, learn to use my time wisely, and plan accordingly for every event or class that I have,” said Elhadji. “I’ve realized that I have more time on my hands than I thought, which with rigorous respect for planning, you can achieve more than you think.”
Initially, Toure had to make the adjustments of being physically away from his teachers. But he got used to taking his classes via video, and working from his bedroom. “It did allow me to have a little more time to sleep in. So I enjoyed having the time to get ready, have breakfast, and then log into the teams meeting.”
But recently, Toure has returned to on campus, in-person learning, to finish his last few months of high school right here at Wisdom. “This High School has taught me a lot about myself, and it has improved my social and networking skills, both of which are essential to succeed in today’s world,” said Toure. “It has also taught me to watch who I hang out with, because that becomes a part of how others visualize you. But, I proudly walk into my collegial life with the lessons I have learned from this amazing campus; ones that have prepared my intellect and character for the next stage of my life.”
Elhadji’s dedication to his education has earned him a 4-year scholarship to Carleton College in Minnesota, where he will be studying Computer Science, with a minor in Pre-Med.