#BlackBoyJoy For Real: Ayrton Little Gets Accepted Into Harvard University And All Of Social Media Is Celebrating

December 16, 2017  |  

It’s been a struggle for me to scroll through my Facebook feed recently without coming across a video of a young black man (who at first glance resembles actor Robert Ri’chard) seated at a computer surrounded by his anxious classmates. The young man is Ayrton Little and the 16-year-old is looking to see if he’s been accepted to join the freshman class of Ivy League school, Harvard University. Seconds later, the whole room erupts in joy as it turns out the Opelousas, Louisiana native’s Harvard hoodie isn’t being worn in vain and since Wednesday I’ve watched the video at least ten more times and gotten all “in the feels”.

NBC News reports Little’s reaction has been watched on Twitter alone over 5.8 million times. He learned he was accepted to Harvard on Monday, less than a week after his brother, 18-year-old Alex Little, learned he had been accepted to Stanford University. Out of 6,630 students who applied for early admission, 964 were selected to join the Class of 2022 and Little is now one of them. Alex told NBC he may just be happier for his brother than he is for himself:

“I told him his acceptance day, not mine, was the best day of my life.”

In a phone interview with NBC, the brothers revealed that they come from pretty humble beginnings despite the college acceptance video recently going viral. They discussed being raised by a single mother who did her best despite bills being left unpaid at times. The young men said although they often faced financial instability, their mom was plenty generous when it came to support and encouragement towards their education. The Little brothers express that their mother did everything to be able to afford a good education for her sons including selling baked goods before eventually landing a stable job as a culinary teacher at a vocational school. Alex says their mother did a great job at making sure financial struggle was never a distraction in her boys’ educational pursuits:

“Our mom did a good job of not making it a center point of our lives.”

“She tells us this all the time: No matter how tough things were, whatever bills weren’t getting paid, whatever lights might be cut off, I knew that they were always working and I knew that I’d come home to good grades and good report cards and kids who were striving in school.”

The brothers attend T.M. Landry College Preparatory in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, a school that focuses on independent student-driven learning. The private school started in 2005 and boasts a one hundred percent college enrollment rate with graduating classes as small as eight students earning over $11.2 million in scholarships.

Ayrton says that he could have easily taken a path of drug dealing and violence, but knew staying focused on school would take him to a “better place in life”.  He is confident that T.M. Landry has prepared him properly for the road ahead:

“I go to the best school.”

“95 percent of the students here are driven and they care about school, the other five percent are new.”

Principal and founder of the school, Tracey Landry says the boys’ success is largely due to their own commitment and hard work, She says Ayrton specifically has always taken the initiative:

“He’s always the first one to try and find out the answers or go beyond the lesson.”

She mentions the brothers “have truly struggled through the process” with various situations at home, “they are truly humble young men.”

Ayrton plans to study applied mathematics with a minor in computer science at Harvard next fall, but most importantly he’s looking forward to growing as a young man in a whole new world not quite like his hometown:

“I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of people and being exposed to a lot of different cultures because I’ve been in the South as far back as I can remember.”

“I’ve only been around people from the South and I know that there’s a whole world out there that I don’t know about yet and I think that that’s the best thing.”

You can check out Ayrton’s acceptance video below along with some other students at T.M. Landry that clearly have bright futures ahead of them:

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