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Two Black Students Won School Honors. Then Came the Calls for a Recount.

  • June 14, 2021

Ikeria’s mother, Angela Washington, was oblivious to any supposed miscalculation in West Point as she was leaving the auditorium after senior awards. But as she was accepting kudos and generally basking in her daughter’s glory, she said she overheard Emma pledging to challenge the decision to give the awards to Ikeria and Layla.

“She was upset. She had been crying. She thought it was going to be her night,” Ms. Washington said in an interview.

Emma’s father, Shawn Berry, was also upset, he said in an interview, because the family had kept up with his daughter’s averages and knew she was at the very top.

“We’ve been tracking this since she was in the seventh grade,” Mr. Berry said, adding that his daughter had repeatedly received awards for highest class rank over the years.

“This is why, when it all went down, we were like, ‘Wait, what?’” Mr. Berry said.

Melissa Borgioli was also confused. Her son, Dominic, had been ranked third at the end of his junior year, but had “worked his butt off this year,” she said.

“I can’t say it without sounding like I’m bragging about my child, but he owned the awards day. Hall of fame, top this, male athlete with the highest G.P.A.,” she said. Why wasn’t Dominic in the top two, she wondered.

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