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Katie Washington, 21, is a biology major and minor in Catholic social teaching with a 4.0 GPA.
“I am humbled,” said Washington to the Northwest Indiana Times. "I am in a mode of gratitude and thanksgiving right now.”
University officials said they couldn’t recall ever having a black valedictorian, and don’t keep record of their race.
"Katie works so hard," Washington’s mother Jean Tomlin said. "I told her when she went to Notre Dame, 'You are representing your family, your church and the city of Gary. Make us proud.'"
She has definitely made her family proud and is following in their footsteps. Her father is a doctor, her mother and sister are nurses, one brother is completing his residency and another brother who works for British Petroleum.
"I have had so much support, people who really wanted to see that I reached my full potential,” Washington told nwitimes.com. “They all had my best interest at heart."
Washington will address the class of 2010 at commencement on May 16.