Cody Stephens will become the first African-American valedictorian to graduate from Gainesville High School in Georgia. This decision comes after controversy over the school’s announcement that there would be ‘co-valedictorians’ of the 2012 graduating class—Stephens and his friend Charlie Bryant, who is white.

The Bryant and Stephens families have reportedly settled the issue fairly quickly and amicably, Bryant’s mother saying in a statement released today, “Cody and Charlie, as students and friends, can deservedly share the honor at school, and we as a community, can collectively lift up Cody’s accomplishments as a unifying element to be proudly witnessed on graduation day.” 11alive reports on this story:

GAINESVILLE, Ga. (WXIA) — 11Alive News has learned the co-valedictorian flap in Gainesville is officially over. The second student, Charlie Bryant, has withdrawn from the controversy.

This means Gainesville High School senior Cody Stephens will be the only valedictorian this school year. He becomes the first African American to achieve the honor at the school.

Bryant, who is white, had not been identified by name prior to this point, but was listed by name in a release from his family Monday afternoon.

The academic achievements of Cody Stephens and Charlie Bryant stand on their own merits and are to be celebrated, not tarnished by controversy

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