DeSoto, Tx.- Destiny Brannon thought that she was done with DeSoto High School after walking across the stage and receiving her diploma; however, that was not the case for the 18-year-old high school graduate.
Destiny was named the class valedictorian; the highest achievement a graduate can have, but her victory was short lived when Brannon and her parents were informed of a miscalculation with her grades. After returning from freshman orientation at the University of Texas at Austin where she planned on going to college, the Brannon family was called into a meeting with the DeSoto ISD school officials. They were told that Destiny actually ranked third in her class and not first. According to officials, mistakes had been made because the school ranked Brannon based only on her Fall semester grades and failed to factor in her spring semester grades.
As a result, Destiny had dropped from number one in her class to number three, the school made this discovery after they evaluated the final transcript. “It’s embarrassing, because I got so much publicity from them on being valedictorian, only to be told that’s a mistake,” Destiny said.
According to the school, the honor of valedictorian should have been awarded to student Brian Uzuegbunam, who moved from spot number four to number one.
DeSoto ISD released a statement and said that it “regrets that it failed to ensure that systems were in place to prevent this from occurring, but has since worked diligently to ensure that those at fault have been held accountable and that there is a system and process in place to verify student academic ranking as based on grades, grade point average and course weighting.” According to the school district spokesperson Tiffanie Blackmon-Jones, those responsible for the error has been fired.
Destiny and her mother Samantha Johnson-Brannon believes that the revised ranking was the backlash from Destiny’s critiques to the administration in her graduation speech regarding the school prioritizing sports over academics.“DeSoto ISD is plagued with the idea that sports are somehow more important than education,” The school district denied those accusations and said that Brannon’s speech was approved by the principal Arista Owens-McGowan and the school board before graduation.
Since her valedictorian status has been changed, Destiny no longer qualifies for the free year of college tuition. Although she has some scholarship money; it may not be enough to cover her first year. The Brannon family has since launched a GoFundMe Campaign to help cover the cost of her tuition. They have raised over $25,000.