Cincy native is University of Maryland School of Dentistry's first-ever black valedictorian

CINCINNATI – A Walnut Hills High School grad recently became the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s first-ever black valedictorian.

Dr. Tera Poole said she didn’t learn until shortly before graduation that she had earned the honor.

The school is 176 years old and was the world’s first dental school. Poole has been getting national recognition for her accomplishment.

“To see that it was being spotlighted on platforms – and positive comments from the readers, saying ‘hey we need to see more of this, we don’t see this often’ – is definitely an amazing feeling,” Poole said.

Despite the widespread recognition, Poole said she’ll never forget where she started. She had a number of mentors growing up in Walnut Hills. Her dental school drive at home first began thanks to Dr. Terrance Poole, her dad.

“Education is her thing, “ he said. “She’s real athletic. We were in San Francisco, getting her apartment ready for her residency, and I mentioned to her that ‘pretty much you beast on everything you put yourself too.’”

Poole said she hoped to “be an outlet for other students, minorities, just anyone interested in any health career.”

Print this article Back to Top