Milwaukee senior named presidential scholar, overcoming the odds

Posted: 6:50 PM, May 25, 2018
Updated: 2018-05-25 23:50:30Z

MILWAUKEE - Saturday, Xavier Lightfoot will be the first African-American valedictorian at St. Puis XI high school.

The high school senior has a long list of accolades that earned him the honor. Earlier this month Xavier was chosen as a United States Presidential Scholar for his artwork.

In his small studio off the kitchen of his parent's home, Xavier shares one of the artists that inspires him.

"A part of my inspiration comes from Basquiat how he would do layers on top of layers," he said. 

Art is like medicine for Xavier's soul. At 17-years-old he uses his paintbrush as a form of activism.

"With some pieces I address issues like police brutality, I bring up things about history and what it means to be a black male in society," said Lightfoot, "I want to start a dialogue."

The Milwaukee teen is pretty modest. When asked his grade point average he sheepishly replied.

"GPA 4.321."

The Milwaukee teen has been accepted to 19 colleges with a total of $2 million in scholarships.

Gail Lightfoot, has no problem bragging about the youngest of seven siblings, especially when she knows how much her son has overcome.

"We almost lost him to hydrocephalus - which is fluid on the brain. The last four years no surgery, no shunt revisions, no hospital stays I am really excited about that," she said. 

It makes my heart just full,' Gail Lightfoot also said.

Saturday Xavier will graduate with one more accomplishment to boot: Valedictorian.

"Being the first black valedictorian that could set an example for a lot of people and you can do this and achieve these things," he said.