Rusk High School senior Trinity Asberry has made history becoming the Texas institution’s first Black valedictorian.

Unbeknownst to the high school’s valedictorian history, Asberry’s grandmother revealed the news to her.

“The first thing I did when I found out is I called all my family members, ‘hey, I’m valedictorian!’ My grandma told me, ‘hey, I think you might have made history; I’ve been here a long time, and I’ve never heard that happen,” Trinity told CBS19.

Asberry took it upon herself and began researching previous graduating valedictorians but could not get the information she was looking for through local newspapers and school faculty.

“They didn’t have the resources to tell me that information. So we checked with the NAACP, and they couldn’t find that information as well, so we did a lot of research with community members and alumni from Rush HS,” Asberry said. “We were able to find out I was the first, and I was really excited for that,” she added.

Trinity’s dad, George Andrew Asberry, couldn’t be more proud of his daughter’s historic achievement.

“That feeling was like wow, you’re special, I mean, you’re the first in Rusk … that’s history,” George Asberry told CBS19. “I’m so proud of her, and I probably tell her a 100 times.”

Losing her mother when she was in elementary school, Asberry says she feels she can overcome any obstacle due to her accomplishing so much under unfortunate circumstances.

“I feel like moving forward in my future. I’ll know that whatever comes my way, I’ll be able to take it on because I’ve done so much under the circumstances already,” Asberry said. “And I know that I’ll have help, that my family will be there if I run into something that I can’t take on myself.”

“When Trinity lost her mom, I thought that the best thing I could do was make her situation comfortable, and that’s what I did. I made her first priority. I put my personal life in the back burner and made sure she had everything she needed,” George Asberry said. “She had me, her grandmother, her aunt, and her teachers – all of those people were instrumental for helping her to get where she is,” he said.

Having a solid support system in her teachers and family, Asberry told CBS19 that her teachers over four years at Rush High School influenced her the most in her personal life.

“Mrs. Turlington was my third-grade teacher and the first teacher I had after my mom passed. She was actually a teacher who also taught my mom, so having her was actually very special. Ms. Taylor was a really outgoing and bubbly teacher where you could express yourself in a safe place,” Asberry said.

“You could talk about anything, and she listened and helped you. And Dr. Hawkins, he was the first Black teacher I’ve had, and that was very special because it was the first time I was in a classroom in which someone looked like me,” she said.

Anatomy and Physiology Dual Credit teacher Dr. Gerald Hawkins said he feels honored to be a part of Asberry’s journey.

“I feel my pathway, journey, and career has been worth it, to inspire my students, especially Trinity was all worth it,” Hawkins said. “Trinity is a humble, responsible, respectful young woman, and I think those characteristics will take her a long way in life. In the small time I was part of her journey, I hope I made a difference.”

Asberry’s loss of her mother propelled her to be the overachiever she is today.

“I think losing her mom has motivated Trinity at a young age. It has helped her reach the stars to make her mom proud,” Hawkins told CBS19. “Truly a historical moment that needs to be celebrated. I think for minority students to see this historical moment happen will help motivate them to succeed academically if they put their minds and put in the work, they can also accomplish this,” he said

Being the first Black valedictorian, Asberry hopes to inspire her peers to work towards the unthinkable despite the color of their skin.

“I feel like a lot more students will feel like it’s not a goal out of reach for them because that’s something you can do no matter what skin color you are, it’s achievable,” Asberry said.

“I was always kind of singled out in advanced courses, and I’ll look around, it’ll only be me or another Black student. That’s kind of sad that it’s only us because there is so many people that can strive for more, and they choose not to because they don’t believe they can. I’m excited that (their mindset) is kind of shifting,” Asberry said.

After graduation, Asberry will attend Texas Southern University for two years in the university’s pre-nursing program.

Asberry wants to transfer to the University of Houston and complete a bachelor of science in nursing, a girl with a plan.