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Jade Small
Jade Small
March 24, 2024 ·  3 min read

High School Valedictorian With 8.07 GPA Overcomes Several Challenges, Including Losing Her Home In Fire

Imagine coming from one of the lowest points in your life to rising above it all and becoming your high school’s first-ever valedictorian. A Tampa-based high school student has amazed the world, along with many prospective universities. She found an ability to take her adversities and use them as an advantage. In other words, she went to high school as a homeless teen after her family’s house burnt down, but she came out as her high school’s first-ever valedictorian.

Patel High School’s First Valedictorian

In Tampa, a high school has just awarded one of its students the honor of becoming their first-ever valedictorian. A valedictorian in high school is usually the student with the highest academic standing in their graduating class. This honor is earned through consistency in their grades. Moreover, most valedictorians have maintained the highest GPA throughout their high school careers.

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Jazmine Mazard was Patel High’s first valedictorian since they were founded. She joined the school in 2018, right after her family’s home was burnt down in a fire. This was a seriously low point for her, as they lost everything they owned. Additionally, her parents were badly injured, including her mom who was pregnant at the time of the fire. However, they all survived including her baby brother.

Jazmine started out with some serious struggles. Firstly, the emotional damage her family faced with losing their house. Secondly, she was diagnosed with ADHD, a learning disorder that makes it hard to focus. Regardless of her struggles, Jazmine was dedicated to her grades and managed to maintain a high GPA. By the time graduation came, her GPA was at 8.07. So, this earned her the spot of Patel’s first-ever valedictorian spot being awarded. Jazmine says she did it as an inspiration to her younger fellow students. She said: “I think going through all of this … has led me to want to persevere and want to show little girls or boys my age that they can do it too.”

She Reached High

The valedictorian for Patel High was not your average student. She reached high for her dreams and has the end-game plan of becoming a doctor. Jazmine did not exactly stick to the norm when it came to her grades. She took on a lot more than what many students can handle. In other words, this is saying something considering her ADHD diagnosis and lack of a stable home environment. As with most valedictorians, she enrolled in many Advanced Placement, or AP classes. As well as dual credit classes. Additionally, she took on the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education. An achievement that seriously helped in raising her GPA.

Moreover, she is to receive a certificate from a community college nearby before she even gets her high school diploma. The Patel High School principal, Principal Marlee Strawn praised Jazmine for her efforts. “She’s really taken the initiative to go above and beyond,” said Strawn. “She had this goal of being top in her class, and ultimately she met it.”

Valedictorian Draws Motivation From Her Baby Brother

In an interview, Jazmine said that she is inspired by her baby brother. Marlo was born right after the fire took their home as Jazmine’s mother was none months pregnant at the time. Then, in an interview, Jazmine said: “Marlo is my motivation. I want to be a role model for him. After my mother and father almost passed away, seeing my brother allowed me to get that drive.”

Keep Reading: Students raised $200k to help 80-year-old school janitor retire after rent hike sent him back to work


  1. High school valedictorian with 8.07 GPA overcomes several challenges, including homelessness.” Good Morning America. Brittancy Gabby. May 8, 2023.
  2. High school valedictorian with 8.07 GPA overcomes several challenges, including homelessness. ABC News. Brittany Gaddy. May 3, 2023.