Home > Valedictorian Tyra Dixon’s Story of Perseverance

Tyra Dixon’s time at Excel Academy of South Shore, part of the Chicago Public Schools’ Options Network, has been marked by strong academics, student leadership and extracurricular achievements – shaping her into a well-rounded young woman.

Her hard work and dedication resulted in being named the class of 2024 valedictorian. A member of student government, Tyra was elected Executive Bronco, a position that goes beyond the typical student government responsibilities and one of her many roles that allows her to demonstrate her leadership skills.

“Once I became a Bronco, that’s what really pushed me because I had no other choice but to be an example and to be a leader,” she said.

In addition to her academic success, Tyra is also a dedicated athlete, serving as captain of the cheerleading squad, co-captain of the volleyball team, and an active member of the bowling team. Beyond her athletic and academic capabilities, she is also a licensed barber and has completed the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) program, and is the only student at Excel South Shore to have completed both the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and phlebotomy programs. Although she doesn’t plan to enter the medical field, she values having the knowledge of life-saving skills such as CPR.

“I want to know a little bit about everything,” Tyra said.

Graduating at the top of her class is even more remarkable as Tyra once considered dropping out of school completely. She credits her mother and her teachers Ms. Rosie, Ms. Jones, Dr. Haley, Mr. Taylor, and particularly Ms. Sweet, for providing the support and motivation she needed to succeed. Tyra said Excel staff helped her learn accountability – making sure she was punctual, completed her work and earned good grades.

“They gave me the support and motivation,” said Tyra. “They told me that I could be something else.”

Tyra’s entrepreneurial spirit is evident through her hair-styling business, Pretty Little Hair, and she plans to attend Harry S. Truman College to study cosmetology and business, funded by the Option Scholarship.

As she prepared for graduation, Tyra continued to inspire others and offered advice to her peers: “Keep on going, push yourself. No matter what situation you’re in right now, it’s not your final stop.”