Where Are They Now? Tyrikus Returns
It has been over two years since Tyrikus checked Mrs. Owens blood pressure in Health Science II class at the Career Tech Center. In May of 2018 the Quitman High School Valedictorian walked across the stage in Panther Stadium as the first African American male to graduate with the highest GPA at Quitman High School. He explains,
“When you consider how desegregation happened in the late sixties you understand that it’s been 60 years with only three people of color that have gotten valedictorian at Quitman High School. It should be celebrated because it can happen, and since I am so recent it shows people that it can be done now. I have a cousin who is going to Enterprise right now and that’s what she’s wanting to do. I think she will be the first African American in Enterprise to get it.”
Combining the badge of honor which comes along with a first in history is something that the May of 2020 Jones College graduate attributes to a supportive family.
“My mom and I actually had this talk before. I am a good kid but I know I am where I am because of my parents – because of their support. They have given me so many resources and they cared about me and they bought me the things I needed because they had the ability to do so. That’s something they didn’t have in their childhood. Both my mom’s parents had to work full time to make ends meet for the bare necessities for five kids and that was more important than joining a club like I wanted to. My dad had a rough childhood. That’s why he says he fights and works so hard to give me and my sister better than what he had. My dad worked and my mom kept us on task by making sure we did our homework and going to parent-teacher conferences. My teachers saw that she cared.”
Along with a supportive family, Tyrikus credits his current success to great teachers both at Quitman High School and Jones College.
“I love Jones – the teachers and the people – everybody is so friendly. I saw the president several times, and he was so nice. He spoke and was so inspiring. I had a great advisor who also taught me Bio 1 & 2, and I could tell that he cared. That’s what all the teachers felt like – even my hardest – Dr. Marks for Organic (Chemistry I & II). Even though that is a hard course, we knew that she cared about us, especially that last semester because it was rough for everyone.”
The former Big Blue Crew and Jones College Band member is taking the 4.0 GPA he earned at Jones and heading to Mississippi State University in August of 2020. About the new opportunities, he says,
“I am going to get a degree in biochemistry. I have friends there, and I visited. It just seemed so nice and comfortable, and the vibe there felt really inclusive. That’s how I knew it was the right fit for me. They do have a nice program. Honestly though, for med school, your degree doesn’t matter. Where you go to school doesn’t necessarily matter. Your school can give you better experience research wise, and, of course, bigger schools are going to give you more opportunities to have that experience. but for med school what they care about is the grade that you have in the classroom. You can get by with a C, but it takes a large amount of work doing close to perfect on your MCAT, and you have to do really well on your interview. Things have to line up in your favor for your GPA to line up close to a 3.5.”
This summer Tyrikus is working his part-time job in Pachuta and staying healthy by walking around his hometown. For those who ask, he does have some advice. He smiles when he says,
“Anything is possible. If you just work hard enough – no matter what you feel or who tells you no or how many times you fail – if you want it bad enough, you’ll get it.”