Cleveland Central News

  • Court rules against former student in Cleveland School District discrimination claim over shared valedictorian title

    CLEVELAND — A federal judge recently ruled that while Cleveland School District may have erred when it awarded valedictorian to both Jasmine Shepard, who is African American and another white student, a federal civil rights violation was not committed.  Shepard filed suit against the school district in June 2017, alleging that school officials forced her to share the 2016 valedictorian title with a white student despite Shepard having a higher GPA. Hers was the last class to graduate as Cleveland High School before a federal desegregation order caused Cleveland High, which was historically white and East Side High, which was majority black to consolidate.

Behind the Headlines



When news broke that two Mississippi schools were ordered to desegregate by a federal judge (in 2016, no less) headlines began to emerge. National media covered the decision, providing generally the same narrative of forced desegregation in the schools and throughout the community. But this is not a one-size-fits all story. It's a story about loss, hope and an attempt to unify. Our goal is to introduce you to the people behind those headlines, put faces to names and let them tell their own stories in their own words.

Sha'Mere Sanders, Senior

Former East Side High Student

“I hope it gets better. I hope they get more pride. I hope they build new things.” Click for her story

Ava Lubin, Junior

Former Cleveland High Student
“I’m really pleased with how it did come together. Of course there are logistics that need to be changed and worked on … but the social aspect of it is just so much better than I thought it was going to be. And it’s just going to keep on getting better when people get more comfortable. When our ninth graders are seniors I think it’s going to be perfect because you’ll have years to get adjusted and you’ll have years for that mindset to leave because no one then will have been a Wild Cat or a Trojan.” Click for her story

Olecia James, Senior

Former East Side High Student

“As far as I can say, despite all of the negativity and things that didn’t go as planned, we’re most definitely beating the odds. And, I’m for it. I support it. I support Cleveland Central. I’m proud to be Homecoming queen. I’m looking forward to being proud to have Cleveland Central on my diploma. So, despite everything else that’s going around, I will soon be an alumna of that school. I’m looking forward to it, and I’m excited. And I hope, as the future goes on, I’m pretty sure they’ll get everything together so future seniors won’t have to go through the things we went through. But, for the most part, we’re beating the odds. That’s all I have to say.”

Click for her story

Kyle Short, Senior

Former Cleveland High Student

“We’re accomplishing more than people thought they were going to do. They didn’t think we were going to succeed the way we are. They didn’t think we’d come together like we are. Rather than being one way this school or that school, we’ve come together and we’ve put aside a lot of childish things. It’s still is a struggle, like I say, but we are coming together.”

Click for his story

Sam Waldbeiser, Freshman

Former Margaret Green Junior High Student

“I’m not the most social person, but I’ve made a few friends from the other school (D.M. Smith) — one really good one. There’s lots of people who are good friends with each other who live in the house next door or even  living in the same house with somebody that were going to two different high schools. Now, everyone is friends with each other. It’s a good welcoming atmosphere. At the beginning of the year, everybody was really really excited. Everything has gone a lot better since the two schools were separated, in my opinion.”

Click for his story