Lamar HS senior’s story of 20 college acceptances goes viral 

Micheal Brown received his first college acceptance in November, and after that, they just kept rolling in—20 in all, including all eight Ivy League schools and 12 other top-tier universities across the country.

When word got out that not only did Brown get accepted, but he got a full ride to all of them, the story went viral. The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, CNN, Houston Chronicle, Dallas Morning News, local TV stations, and news outlets in Atlanta, San Diego, and Seattle are just a few that ran the story. Lamar Principal James McSwain said that for the past few days, he has been Brown’s press agent, fielding calls and even holding a press conference at the high school.

Brown leaves in a few days for Stanford University, which has been his top pick since middle school. Now, however, he is not so sure, so he is going to try to visit his top seven schools before making a final decision by May 1. The Lamar senior’s mother, Berthinia Rutledge-Brown, hopes he picks Stanford, but she will support him no matter what, just as she has his entire life. Brown is her only child, so it will be bittersweet when he leaves for college.  

“But I’ll be ready,” she said. “Even though he has been a very easy child, and I never had to worry about his grades, I won’t miss driving him around at all hours of the night or doing his laundry.”

Brown joined HISD’s EMERGE program during his sophomore year, and went on his first EMERGE college trip that summer, visiting Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brandeis University, and Tufts University. It opened his eyes to the possibilities out there. “I knew that I wanted to go to a school outside of Houston and most likely outside of Texas,” he said.

Brown’s grades and test scores were exceptional, but it may be his extracurricular activities that worked in his favor. He first became interested in politics when Barack Obama was elected president in 2009. In ninth grade he joined the Lamar Young Democrats of America, and the summer after his freshman year, Brown volunteered for the Sylvester Turner for Mayor campaign.

“I have taken government, history, debate, and economics classes,” Brown said, “and I will probably major in political science.” He plans to attend law school after graduation and perhaps become a public defender or work in some position where he can make a difference. This summer, he hopes to spend 17 days traveling with the Rustic Pathways Race in America program, learning about the complicated history of race and identity in the U.S. The group will travel along the East Coast to the Mississippi Delta, visiting such key cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore, Montgomery, and Selma.

Brown left for Washington, D.C., on April 4 to accept an Horatio Alger scholarship. He was one of 106 scholars from 40,000 applicants to win a scholarship and one of four recipients chosen to give a speech while there. Brown is especially looking forward to visiting the Supreme Court Building, as one of his dreams is to become a judge, possible on the Supreme Court.

“I think that studying public policy and the law will give me the tools to make the world a better place,” Brown said. “My mom, my teachers, my mentors, and all my friends have been so supportive that I want to do well and give back to everyone who invested in me. And if I inspire other kids to dream big, that’s even better.”