FLINT, Michigan — After applying to dozens of schools, a 17-year-old Flint teen has racked up more than a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships.
International Academy of Flint senior Ashton Brandon applied to 20 colleges and universities. He has received admissions letters from at least 6 schools. Brandon says he has received acceptance letters from Drexel University, St. John’s University, Loyola, and Eastern Michigan University. Thus far, he has secured $330,000 in scholarship dollars. Brandon elected to attend Morehouse College
in the Fall.
Morehouse College, a historically Black liberal arts college located in Atlanta, GA was founded more than 150 years ago. The college is a member of the Atlanta University Center which also includes Morehouse’s all-women’s neighboring school, Spelman College. To this day, Morehouse remains the largest men’s liberal arts college.
Notable alumni include actor Samuel L. Jackson, former NAACP President Julian Bond, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In 2021, the university began offering online courses at reduced tuition to men with undergraduate credits who had not yet completed their degrees.
This Fall, Brandon will begin his studies in Psychology and Sociology at Morehouse. He looks forward to interacting with people from different cultures during his time in Atlanta and wants to participate in the study abroad program. One of his goals is to become a global traveler.
Brandon says his parents played an intricate role in his love for education. His parents were the first to introduce him to books and they were persistent in helping Brandon learn to fall in love with education. Besides his parents’ influence, Brandon has been supported by his mentor who he met through his participation in the Big Brother Big Sister
Quentin Love (left) and Ashton Brandon (right).
Ashton Brandon’s mentor, Quentin Love
, says the two were paired in 2016 and have developed a friendship over the past 6 years. “At the time [we met], I’d returned home to consult for a project,” stated Love. He further explained that over the years, the mentorship dynamic has been a two-way street. “[Ashton] has guided me on things from anime to music. Most of all, Ashton has modeled mentorship by continuing to exemplify an open posture to life.”
In addition to Brandon’s academic accomplishments, he has actively participated in multiple extracurricular activities. He has served as captain of the Robotics team and Vice President of the National Honors Society. During basketball season, Brandon serves as a sports commentator. He also maintains an after-school job and has worked as an editor in his school’s journalism program.
He says the key to his success has been his desire to succeed. During the pandemic, Brandon found himself lacking motivation. It did not last long. “I believe [desire] for success and my belief in my future has [helped] me complete the work as needed.”
Brandon thinks it is important for adults to know young people face real pressures, pains, and fears in life. He says even though young people are intelligent and driven, they still need support from mentors and other adults to help guide their development.
“We go through a lot of social anxiety, insecurities, and pressure to succeed on a journey of self-discovery. All we need is for our issues to be validated and considered, while also guiding us through.”