A Michigan student who bounced between schools after becoming homeless has accomplished the unthinkable.
Byron Brooks mother gave birth to him in prison, and he never met his father.
Brooks told Fox 2 that he was raised by his great-grandparents, but struggled a lot in school.
“I got kicked out of Mumford the first week of my ninth grade year,” he said. “I was hanging around the wrong crowd, got into a lot of fights.”
Brooks bounced around four different high schools before graduating from the Cody Academy of Public Leadership.
Things got even worse after he enrolled at Henry Ford College in Dearborn.
“In the middle of that I became homeless because my mother didn’t want me to go to college,” he said. “She gave me an ultimatum of working at a factory or going to college. I chose college.”
The 23-year-old said that he slept inside bus stops, abandoned homes, and other places. He was working multiple jobs to make ends meet and pay for his tuition, according to Henry Ford.
But Brooks said he was supported by friends he made at school, including one friend who would always bring him lunch. Staff members tried to help him, including working to get him a vehicle.
“The support of the faculty pushed me and encouraged me to keep going and not give up on my dreams,” said Brooks, who later moved into an apartment in Detroit. “Their support is what pushed me to run for Student Council, because I wanted to pay back that love to the student body and make a difference so no other student would have to go through what I went through.”
Brooks is now set to graduate from Henry Ford as the school’s student president and as part of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society.
Brooks said that he has received interest from numerous universities but is planning to stay in the area.
“I’ve actually chosen to stay local. Because I have an offer from Ferris State, and they have a program that lines up directly with my background and what I want to do,” he said. “So many people here in this community and others showed so much love to me, so I owe it to them and myself to give back.”
Brooks is majoring in music industry management and has dreams of one day opening an artist development center for at-risk youth who aspire to careers within mainstream music. Brooks said he learned to play multiple instruments after being taught piano at age four.