DEARBORN, Mich. - Byron Brooks is not your typical college grad. He’s just gone from being homeless to finishing a two-year program at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan -- and graduating with honors.
Brooks was raised by his great-grandparents. His mother had him while she was in prison, and he never knew his biological father. Brooks bounced between four high schools before finally finishing in 2015.
He then enrolled at Henry Ford College, but things didn’t get any easier.
“In the middle of that, I became homeless, because my mother didn’t want me to go to college, so she kind of gave me an ultimatum of working at a factory or going to college,” he told Fox 2 Detroit.
“I chose college.”
Brooks slept at bus stops, in abandoned homes, and at school. But he also made new friends at school who had his back.
“One of my friends, he made sure his aunt would bring a lunch for me every day just to make sure I was able to eat,” he said.
Now, Brooks is graduating as his school’s president and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He’s starting school again in the fall at a four-year university, plans to major in music industry management, and hopes to one day open an artist development center for at-risk youth.