Booker T. Washington's Valedictorian Kolby Daniels Defies the Odds

By: Quo Vadis Sylve Hollins

Booker T. Washington High School, of KIPP New Orleans Schools, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of Kolby Daniels, who has been named its 2023 Class Valedictorian. Despite personal tragedy, Kolby's determination and commitment to his education have led him to this remarkable accomplishment.

At the age of 7, Kolby tragically lost his mother, Shawanna Pierce, to the senseless violence of a high-profile shooting incident in May 2012.  He turned grief into motivation, honoring his mother’s memory by pursuing his dreams of graduating first in his class. He earned over $200,000 in scholarships and was accepted to over 20 colleges and universities. Kolby consistently demonstrated a passion for excellence, achieving the highest academic standing among his peers. He was determined to follow in the footsteps of his mother, who graduated with honors from Booker T. Washington High School as a member of the Class of '96.

Kolby's family has a strong legacy of academic achievement at Booker T. Washington, a cornerstone of the Central City community. Kolby's graduation marks the 10th family member, including his father Kerry Daniels, to graduate from the school, further cementing their deep-rooted connection.

Kolby's journey is a testament to his resilience and the partnership of support he received from his family and Booker T. Washington. The school's commitment to expanding post-secondary options is evident through resources such as access to Bard Early College, personalized college counseling, and a wide range of college partnerships and career pathways. These initiatives exemplify the school's mission of creating unlimited opportunities for all students.  Kolby's progression from KIPP Central City Primary to Booker T. Washington High School showcases the impact of his KIPP New Orleans Schools education.

Booker T. Washington High School is immensely proud of Kolby's achievements and the positive impact he has made on his peers and the wider community. Kolby will attend Texas Southern University in Houston to join the Ocean of Soul Marching Band. With the college credits earned through Booker T. Washington High School's credit program, he is fully prepared to pursue his academic and career goals.

If you have any questions or are interested in visiting a KIPP New Orleans school, please contact [email protected].

About KIPP New Orleans School

KIPP New Orleans Schools is a Louisiana non-profit organization that operates 13 open-enrollment public schools serving 6,200 students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th. KIPP New Orleans Schools is dedicated to empowering students with the knowledge and skills they need to pursue college and choice-filled lives. Since 2005, KIPP New Orleans has educated thousands of students and today supports over 1000 alumni in college and career