Anthony Walker was attacked in a park less than a mile from the Knowsley Community College campus where he studied for his A-levels. He died in hospital.
The 18-year-old, who had taken exams in media and communications, IT and law, hoped to become a lawyer.
Moments before the attack on Saturday he was racially abused as he waited by a bus stop with his white girlfriend and his cousin.
Sir George Sweeney, principal of the college, said: "He was an excellent student, hard-working and committed.
"It's terrible what has happened, unspeakable."
The attack has been compared with the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993, but police stress their response has been very different.
Four men, aged between 17 and 29, were arrested in the two days following the killing. All have subsequently been released on police bail.