The State Department of Education recently recognized Marcus Jackson, West Ashley's 2019 Valedictorian and fellow student Davonte Capers.
The two have known each other since middle school. Jackson admits that there was a time when they were the only kids in the classroom during their junior year on the day after final exams.
“It is critical to show up so as not to get behind in class,” said Jackson. “It is hard to recover from the missed instructional time. I take pride in showing up to class, and I do it because it is natural for me to want to go to school.”
Impressed by Jackson’s humbleness, Runyon bragged on his top student.
“Very few South Carolina students achieve a 12-year perfect attendance record and earn the title of Valedictorian,” said Runyon. “This is only the beginning for Marcus. He will far surpass these accomplishments.”
As part of earning the distinction of Valedictorian Jackson was awarded The C.E. Williams Cup is given annually to the graduate who has earned the highest grade point average over his or her high school career. This award honors Mr. C.E. Williams, former Superintendent of Charleston County District 10 schools.
In his Valedictory speech, Jackson told his fellow classmates, “Curiosity, Integrity, Flexibility. These magic words can bring you success, no matter which path you take after today.”
Jackson truly enjoyed school and learning, and credited his teachers for making learning fun.
“I was motivated to make straight A’s and not get behind,” said Jackson. “Earning the spot as my school’s valedictorian was never my goal. My goal was to make nothing less than an A.”
Principal Runyon said the leadership example he has set for his peers is unmatched.
“His fellow students have seen first-hand his diligence to produce exemplary work on a daily basis,” said Runyon. “Every day he puts on his education hardhat. He is consistent, and he is unbelievably prepared to do the work.”
His teachers have commented to Runyon that Jackson is one of the most exceptional students they have ever taught.
“He is a quiet, giant of a student,” said Runyon. “He is so well loved that he is considered a rock star here at West Ashley High School.”
Jackson hopes to teach social studies and history. He enjoys the subject so much that he took every single social studies class offered at WAHS.
“Marcus is a gentle soul, firmly planted on the ground,” said Runyon. “He has the ability and intellectual insight to understand people. He will be there for his students as a consistent presence.”
Jackson said he is driven to do what his teachers did for him.
Jackson is also driven by his competitive nature and a motivation to do his best.
“I would pick the smartest kid in the room and silently vow to be smarter than them,” said Jackson. “The one and only B I received on one of my third-grade report cards made me upset enough that I told myself I would never again receive an Honor Roll ribbon – only the Principal’s List Ribbon.”
Runyon said that Jackson will forever be a legend at WAHS.
“Marcus was an academic giant in the Charleston County school system, and he will be one for his future students,” said Runyon.