INSPIRING: Local student-athlete becomes school’s first accepted to Ivy League college

ATLANTA — Ninety-five years of distinguished school history in Atlanta and now in 2020, Booker T. Washington High School can boast its first Ivy League student-athlete.

Channel 2’s Wendy Corona visited the school in southwest Atlanta Thursday to learn more about the trailblazing young man headed to Dartmouth.

“My coaches instilled in me (that) it's not about how you start, it's about how you finish,” Vachon Raye said.

The Booker T. Washington High School senior is finishing his career there strong.

“I'm more about finishing the drill. Finish the drill. That's one of our mottos. Finish the drill,” Raye said.

That’s why he sees his acceptance to Dartmouth College in the prestigious ivy league as just the beginning.

“A couple of my cousins that are my age, we decided to make a change and decided that we are going to be the change in our family,” Raye said.

Bypassing acceptance into historically black colleges, Raye looked to leave his comfort zone.

“Because when you make yourself uncomfortable, you have more room to grow,” he said.

“It’s just wild for him to be the first kid from this historical place to go to an Ivy League school,” head football coach Derrick Avery said.

Avery knew early on Raye was special. He became a celebrated defensive back. As a rising ninth-grader, Raye visited the weight room daily. He was serious about the sport, but even more serious about academics.

“Every summer from ninth grade, he was going away to a summer enrichment program,” Avery said.

“That helped me because obviously I got into Dartmouth,” Raye said.

The legacy of his historic school continues to build. Where others saw greatness, Raye said it was his job to prove them right.

“Once you believe in yourself, then there’s nothing really anybody can tell you. They can’t sway you, persuade you or make you believe anything else once you believe in yourself,” Raye said.