Class Acts: Senior Cleveland Shepard IV is pursuing a future built on curiosity, persistence and legacy

Booker T. Washington High School senior Cleveland Shepard IV has long had a passion for how things are built.

“When I was little, I always used to play with Legos and look at structures and see how they were built," Shepard said. "I could go into a restaurant, and before I look at the menu, I look at how the structure was."

Soon, he will be off to college where he plans to major in architectural engineering—and his mentors know it is only up from there.

“Cleveland is a leader," Principal Dr. Carlos Phillips II said. "I think he has innate abilities to be a leader. He’s outspoken and a thinker.”

“He has more drive probably than any student I’ve taught in a very long time,” teacher Jennifer Charles said.

Cleveland is a member of L.A.U.N.C.H and has worked on a rocket and a wind turbine in his time at Booker T. He’s also a member of the golf team and was named homecoming king.

He’s always worked hard to honor the legacy of his name.

“When I was little I was like 'why do I have the same name as you?' in the household it would get confusing, but I learned how much weight that name holds and the legacy it held,” Shepard said.

After he graduates, he wants to have his own architecture firm.

“My goal is to own my own firm that focuses on tiny houses because they interest me in how intricate the details have to be and how dual-purpose the items have to be, so it feels like every project would be a new challenge,” Shepard said.

A challenge to overcome and build on his legacy.

Cleveland has been accepted to 14 colleges. He plans to go to the University of Oklahoma where he’ll be part of the president’s leadership class, a freshman leadership program that only a select number of out-of-state students are accepted to each year.

If you know an outstanding high school senior, let us know! They could be our next class act! Click here to nominate them!

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