Northeastern is top destination for Boston public schools’ valedictorians—again

collage of headshots of Boston Public School valedictorians
Boston Public Schools valedictorians who will attend Northeastern (from top to bottom, left to right): Joseph Leo Doherty, Ariya Patel, Korvin Nguyen, Jailey Chavarria Gutierrez, Yong Di Huang, Aisha Mahamud, Jakayla Furr, Jaslyn Fernandez, Rosmery Martinez, Courtney Sarfo, Ferdinand Yudha Hartono, Hui Yan Lei.

For the second year in a row, a record number of Boston public high school valedictorians have chosen to attend Northeastern University, with 13 students at the top of their class set to become Huskies in the fall.

The number includes 12 students of the Boston Public Schools and one student from a Boston public charter school. 

The number of valedictorians from Boston Public Schools selecting Northeastern is four times as many as any other college in the Boston area, according to BPS.

Last year, 11 valedictorians from Boston public high schools matriculated at the university, tying a record from 2020.

“We are so lucky that a record-breaking number of Boston Public Schools valedictorians will remain in Boston this year as students at Northeastern University,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu says. “We are grateful for all that these students do to inspire, mobilize, and enrich their communities, and are excited to see all that they accomplish as Huskies!”

Valedictorians from Boston public schools have lots of choices when it comes to higher education, says John Tobin, Northeastern’s vice president of city and community engagement.

Connor Murphy from Boston Collegiate Charter School. Courtesy photo

“However, through a dedicated recruitment process by so many of our colleagues, these intelligent Boston students come to realize that the smart choice is right here at Northeastern,” Tobin says.

Most of the Boston valedictorians are awarded the Northeastern Boston Valedictorian Scholarship, which provides full tuition, room, board and fees covering eight academic semesters.

“While we know that Northeastern is a global institution,” Tobin says. “It’s also important to know that we must help our neighbors and provide them with something where the possibilities and experiences are endless, and that is an education at Northeastern University.”

Like a third of the Boston Public Schools’ 2023 valedictorians, Jakayla Furr is a first-generation college student.

“I am extremely excited to be enrolling at Northeastern University,” the Fenway High School valedictorian says.

Furr is planning to major in nursing with the intention of becoming a pediatric nurse or a traveling nurse. 

“I’m excited to embark on this next chapter of my life and hopefully teach my family things that I learn,” she says.

Furr chose to attend Northeastern because it’s close to home and has everything she was looking for in a university. Furr was also impressed with the beauty of the Boston campus, an 11.5-acre urban arboretum which includes over 1,500 trees.

“I also enjoy the scenery because at the end of the day, I’ll be spending a lot of my time there, so I want to be able to enjoy what I see,” she says.

Connor Murphy, valedictorian of Boston Collegiate Charter School, also values Northeastern’s unique campus.

“I think that Northeastern had the perfect balance for me where it’s square in the middle of the city but when you are on campus it doesn’t feel that way,” Murphy says. “I love Boston and the surrounding area, but I don’t think I would like to be in the inner city and have to deal with all the traffic and ordeals that come about in Boston. Although at the same time I love that.”

Murphy plans to study mechanical engineering and says Northeastern has been a dream of his since his first year of high school.

“Ever since my freshman year it was my number one choice so to be able to go there now and with the scholarship I got, I am totally excited,” Murphy says.

The valedictorians of the 32 Boston Public Schools high schools were honored at Fenway Park on Tuesday, and Wu praised their commitment.

“These young people are incredible,” Wu said. “They’re often also taking care of their families, working to make sure they can help make ends meet for the family as well.”

The complete list of valedictorians, the name of their Boston public high school and the Northeastern college they will enroll in:

  • Jakayla Furr, Fenway High School, Bouve College of Health Sciences.
  • Ariya Patel, Boston Arts Academy, College of Arts, Media and Design.
  • Yong Di Huang, Charlestown High School, Khoury College of Computer Sciences.
  • Aisha Mahamud, Dearborn STEM Academy, Bouve College of Health Sciences.
  • Jailey Chavarria Gutierrez, East Boston High School, D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
  • Korvin Nguyen, Excel High School, College of Engineering.
  • Joseph Leo Doherty, John D. O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science, College of Science.
  • Hui Yan Lei, Josiah Quincy Upper School, Khoury College of Computer Sciences.
  • Jaslyn Fernandez, Margarita Muniz Academy, College of Arts, Media and Design.
  • Courtney Sarfo, New Mission High School, College of Social Sciences and Humanities.
  • Rosmery Martinez, Snowden International School, undeclared.
  • Ferdinand Yudha Hartono, TechBoston Academy, D’Amore-McKim School of Business.
  • Connor Murphy, Boston Collegiate Charter School, College of Engineering

Cyrus Moulton is a Northeastern Global News reporter. Email him at Follow him on Twitter@MoultonCyrus.