Markus Reneau

Salutatorian of the International High School of New Orleans and graduate of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program, Markus was born in New Orleans, Louisiana to a family of mixed heritage, with African-American on his mother’s side and Belizean on his father’s. He descends from a long line of strong-willed, hard working men and women. Their sacrifices have left him finding inspiration in their stories. He wanted to make sure that through all of his actions he makes them proud, and that is one of the main reasons that he has worked so hard in school. Being raised by a single mother most of his life, he understands not only the value of hard work but also the value of taking advantage of every opportunity presented. During the summers after his junior and senior year in high school, Markus taught 6th Grade English with Breakthrough New Orleans the same program he attended during middle school. 

Markus qualified for the National Catholic Forensics League Grand National Speech and Debate Tournament in his first two years of competing in speech and debate. Furthermore, in the oratorical field, in the summer of 2015 he won a national oratorical scholarship from the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. He now joins the list of winners of this scholarship: namely Oprah Winfrey, the Honorable Thurgood Marshall and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. His family keeps him grounded and he strives to remain humble and constantly give the deserved glory to God and his ancestors. Markus is interested in majoring in African-American Studies and plans to attend law school, practice law and eventually pursue a judgeship.

He has learned that there are obstacles such as bitter stereotypes, lack of equitable access and institutionalized discrimination which make it difficult for him to succeed as an African-American male. Instead of allowing these obstacles to discourage him, his plan is to beat the odds with success—mainly as an attorney with a concentration in social justice. He looks to black leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as sources of his inspiration.