And he says, hard work pays off.
“It’s something I’m proud of because I see my hard work paying off, determination paying off, sacrifices paying off,” Brown told CNN.
Of his top schools, his top eight choices are: Harvard, Princeton, Northwestern, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Georgetown and Vanderbilt.
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The Houston native attends Mirabeau B. Lamar High School and has only received one B during his entire academic career.
“After sixth grade, Mike was in control of his education,” recalled his mother, Berthinia Rutledge-Brown. “He was focused, he knew what he wanted and he made his own decisions.”
Among stellar academics, Brown has top extracurriculars to boot. He has been heavily involved in his school’s debate team, mock trial and student government for years. He also volunteers for political campaigns, citing the influence of “the moment I saw Barack Obama get elected” on his work.
In line with his passion for politics and social justice, Brown is set on majoring in political science, with a second degree in economics.
Brown says his biggest supporter has been his mom who works two jobs as a licensed chemical dependency counselor.
Rutledge-Brown told CNN that she lost three babies before becoming pregnant with Micheal. She’s poured all of her energy into giving him the very best she could.
Brown notes that he is not alone. “For me, it’s important to highlight that I’m not the only student of color who is achieving.” He is a beneficiary of the work of organizations like QuestBridge, Emerge Fellowship and Breakthrough Collaborative, which match students from low-income communities with higher education opportunities.
He is using his platform to show other kids that they can dream big, too. “I want people to be informed and get access to these same programs,” he said.
Brown will tour the schools he has been accepted to for the next 30 days before making a final choice on May 1. In the summer, he’ll spend two weeks traveling around cities that have historically fought for racial justice as part of Rustic Pathways’ “Race in America” program.
His emotional and heartwarming acceptance video is below: