Rachel Jeantel keeps promise to Trayvon Martin

Rachel Jeantel, key witness in George Zimmerman trial, graduated high school, keeping promise to friend Trayvon Martin.

Danielle Haynes
Rachel Jeantel, right, graduates from high school. (Personal photo)
Rachel Jeantel, right, graduates from high school. (Personal photo)

MIAMI, May 30 (UPI) -- The teenage girl who was talking to Trayvon Martin on the phone when he was shot to death in 2012 graduated high school Friday, keeping a promise she made to the slain teen about finishing school.

Rachel Jeantel graduated from high school at a Miami auditorium despite her difficulties with English being showcased in the very public trial of George Zimmerman, the man who says he shot Martin in self defense, Yahoo News reported.


The daughter of immigrant parents, Jeantel speaks Haitian Creole, English and Spanish, but her dialect and use of slang were ridiculed during her testimony as a key witness in Martin's death.

At one point during the trial, defense attorney Don West questioned whether Jeantel, then 19, understood English.

"I don't understand you. I do understand English," Jeantel said.

Though she was a senior in high school, Jeantel had an elementary-level understanding of reading and math, so Miami defense and civil rights attorney Rod Vereen arranged for tutors for the young woman.

"I did it," Jeantel said of her accomplishment. "The witness who didn't know how to speak English knows how to speak English through the 12th grade now. I never quit."

Even Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, was at the graduation ceremony, cheering on her son's friend.

"Her coming is like having Trayvon there saying, 'You did it. You proved people wrong,' " Jeantel said.

Latest Headlines