Austin Independent School District says it will perform an audit of all its high school rankings after the wrong valedictorian was mistakenly appointed at Reagan Early College High School.
Naomi Lands and her family recently just learned that Naomi was really first in her class. They believe that if she had been recognized during graduation as the valedictorian, Naomi would have received scholarships.
It was a big moment for Naomi and her family when Naomi stood behind the podium during graduation to give her salutatorian speech.
But several weeks after graduation, AISD informed Naomi and her family that Naomi was in fact not second in her class but first.
"When they told me it was just a huge shock," Naomi says. "I was salutatorian last time you told me, like what happened in between that time? So it was a big shock to me to find out."
AISD says it was a glitch in their computer system that didn't calculate Naomi's GPA correctly.
Naomi's grandfather Sterling Lands II says, "So than as I understand it they must've uncovered what they call a glitch which I call probably carelessness."
Sterling says he believes the mistake affected his granddaughter's chances of receiving financial assistance. "I think that if she did the work she should get the accolades associated with the work including scholarships."
At 16, Naomi was taking college courses, involved in robotics and assisting her grandfather's church with volunteer work.
Naomi says she's disappointed with the error but feels she doesn't need any recognition. She already has an associate's degree from Austin Community College and plans to continue taking courses in the fall. She excels in STEM and says she is considering studying engineering and design in the near future.
Sterling says he hopes once the issue is resolved that more doors will open for Naomi and other future valedictorians as well.
"I think we should go back and look at that chain of review and ensure that we raise the quality of the review so that every student is treated fairly," Sterling says.
AISD released a statement to FOX 7 Austin in regards to the incident. It says: