The power of ambition: Homeless Maryville teen attends University of Tennessee Knoxville

Courtesy of WATE

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Jordan Brown has faced more trials than your average high school student, but he was able to overcome difficulties and find success.

The University of Tennessee student moved into Fred Brown Residence Hall this weekend. For Brown, it is the first time he has had a permanent place to sleep in months.

Courtesy of WATE
Courtesy of WATE

“This past year since about January, I’ve been homeless. That was pretty rough,” said brown.

Dorm room 325 at the University of Tennessee is now his home.

“It seems very unreal. It feels like a dream, like it’s all too easy and too smooth,” he said.

Related: Move-in weekend underway at UT; Record setting freshman class enrolled

High school was anything but easy and smooth. Brown’s family fell on hard times more than once. After the family was evicted, the teenager lived with friends, even spending a few nights sleeping in Maryville parks.

“By not having that stability in my home life or necessarily in my personal life, I’ve had to find stability elsewhere,” said Brown.

So he stayed in books, entering UT with a 33 ACT score and more than 30 AP credits. Brown says he wants to eventually become a quantum physicist.

“I’d like to work in particle mechanics,” he said.

Maryville High School counselors guided Brown through the college application process, finding scholarships and funding so he could keep learning.

“In all of my career, I’ve never had another Jordan Brown. To say that he’s outstanding does not do him credit. I am tremendously proud of him because he doesn’t look at obstacles to be a reason to not be successful,” said guidance counselor Teresa LeQuire.

Brown has made misfortunes part of the past, leading to a bright future.

“I wouldn’t go back and change a thing, not a single one I’d gone through, because I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” he said.

Throughout high school, Brown was active in student council, science and math competitions, choir, band and clubs, working a part-time job for extra money. Brown is technically classified as a sophomore at UT.

Copyright 2015 WATE. All rights reserved.

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