ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – People who know and love Will Packer say it’s no shocker to see him become this big star.

“Will has been an inspiration long before he reached this level,” said Reverend Keturah Pittman, Packer’s former high school guidance counselor.

Packer led the first-ever all Black Oscar production team.

She said she knew her student would reach these heights long before he got there. Pittman told 8 On Your Side it was an honor to watch Packer produce a ceremony of this magnitude.

“All of us: black, white Asian or whatever, we all should be proud of the fact that this is a St. Petersburg young man,” Pittman said.

Packer is known for breaking barriers within the film industry and he can now add the Oscars to the list. St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch said it’s amazing to watch.

“If you just read his story and how he continues to persevere when the system told him he really can’t do that as a filmmaker is a great example of how you can preserve and be very successful,” Welch said.

It’s a lesson Pittman said she hopes others can learn from. “For other black kids to see him to say hey that’s someone who looks like me. I can do this I can accomplish this as well.”

Despite the groundbreaking production, Sunday night’s show did come with a little hiccup. Actor, Will Smith went on stage and slapped Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

“It was a better way and a better time to handle that,” said Pittman. “I know we all like the comedian that comes forth from some of them… but some of it is not the right time.”

She said she has no doubt Packer’s team handled it with grace.

“I can see him and his team handling this in such a way that it’s not going to rain on their parade,” Pittman said.