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Overcoming and achieving

Although bullied Smith manages to achieve against all odds

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Tarazzo Darnell Dewayne Smith is a very special man and as the valedictorian for the New Beginners Preparatory School Class of 2021, he was center stage on Saturday, in a positive way, despite numerous obstacles he has faced.

In addition to being bullied as far back as he could remember, and landing in the emergency room twice because of injuries he suffered, including a concussion; Smith remained focused and worked toward graduation day.

Along the way, his grandfather, Larry Hodges, died after battling lung cancer and Smith was devastated.

But it seemed like there was always something to cause more trauma in his life, according to his grandmother, Veronica Hodges, who told of one incident when Smith was stabbed in his eye; which caused him to be crossed- eyed and in need of surgery, she said.


Actually one incident was so severe that his loved ones worried about whether or not he’d survive; and if so, would he suffer severe memory loss.

“Some say ‘but God,’” said his mother, Valencia Williams. “However it is ONLY GOD that has brought our son to this moment.”

Describing her son as a young man with a “heart that is bigger than words,” she talked about how creative Mr. Smith is.

“His creativity is beyond earthly talent. Tarazzo Darnell DeWayne Smith is our Pandemic Prince,” she said of the future Oklahoma Sooner who managed to deal with the many obstacles, even while going through the COVID 19 pandemic.

Among those who stood by his side was his grandmother who said that Smith is an outstanding student who has beaten the odds.


“Tarazzo graduated at the top of his class and we are so proud of him. He is also a teen business owner of Tezzie Apparel.”

Some say Smith got his entrepreneurial spirit from his grandparents, who years ago owned and operated the popular Veronica’s Delicacies restaurant in South Dallas.

On his website, he displays apparel with messages and he will customize and personalize everything from face masks and shorts to tee shirts and hoodies. His online store is at

Written By

Marva Sneed is host of “From Marva with Love" and columnist for Texas Metro News.


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