Brandon stands in the entryway of QHS and holds a sign asking, "How do you want to be remembered?"

Brandon doesn’t want to be remembered in Mississippi. He didn’t ask to come here, and he doesn’t want to be here. In Newton County, GA, where he attended the state’s public school system until last summer, Brandon had been planning to utilize at least one of Georgia’s HOPE Programs. He explains,

“It’s an educational scholarship I would have received. See, when I was a kid I wanted to go to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but I soon realized I couldn’t keep up with the rigor. Below that is Georgia Tech. It is still an elite school, but it’s attainable. I want to develop systems for the technology everyone uses today. I plan on going into technology programming or engineering. I will work on the software and hardware that go into technology. In the future, it will probably be run by quantum computers.”

Brandon discusses technology with the technology director of QSD.

Brandon is soon introduced to QSD’s Technology Director, and the two begin a conversation about a shipment the department received this week. Quitman School District students will soon be solving puzzles which Brandon explains,

“It took 8 architectural engineering students 20 hours to solve this.”

Brandon stands next to his self portrait.

The QHS senior has a certificate in Architectural Engineering and has taken classes in Computer Science from Newton College and Career Academy. He has a 31 composite score on his ACT and a 3.7 GPA. He has been trying to find a loophole, but all his research has led to one conclusion. He is going to be out about $30,000 annually at Georgia Tech because he moved to Mississippi last year.

“I researched it again this week.” He shakes his head.

Brandon stands in the hallway of a building at QSD.

He smiles when it’s suggested that he may learn something less technical this year. Brandon is open to the possibility that he might meet some great people, find friends with different interests, and possibly see why people love Mississippi. Though he has already applied and has been accepted into Georgia Tech, Brandon does have advice for his Mississippi classmates. He says,

“If you want to go somewhere and do something, you have to apply yourself. Nobody is going to hold your hand. Nobody is going to baby you. You have to do it yourself.”