BY ANDREAS BUTLER
For the thousands of local high school seniors in the Volusia County School system, this week is a joyous time as graduations are upon us.
Daytona Beach resident and Seabreeze High School senior K’Moya Brown is among the graduates. Seabreeze’s graduation is at 4 p.m. May 31 at the Daytona Beach Ocean Center.
“It is both very scary and very exciting at the same time,” Brown told the Daytona Times.
Brown is graduating with a 3.6 grade point average and magna cum laude honors. She was part of the Advancement Via Individual Achievement (AVID) program, which is a college readiness program designed to help students develop skills needed to be successful in college. She’s also a member of the National Honors Society.
Earned associates too
In addition, Brown earned her associates degree while in high school by doing dual enrollment at Daytona State College.
“It’s a lot of work….it’s actually doing two schools at once,” said Brown.
On top of that, Brown works part-time at a local McDonald’s.
“It is hard at times having a job and going to school. We can spend too much time working than actually going to school. You have to balance but you have to do your school work as well,” responded Brown.
Graduation week is a busy time for all seniors. There are award ceremonies, banquets, rehearsal, getting clothing, hairstyles, invitations and more.
“There are still a lot of things to do leading up to graduation. It’s quite busy,” she noted.
Wants to be doctor
Brown is headed to Florida A&M University (FAMU), where she has earned a full ride and will pursue a degree in pre-medicine.
Brown told the Times, “I want to be a pediatric cardiologist. I have always been inspired by Dr. Ben Carson’s story “Gifted Hands.’’ I don’t follow his politics, but I’ve always been motivated and inspired by his story.”
Four years of high school was no cakewalk for Brown.
Brown admitted, “The biggest thing that I had was procrastinating with deadlines, assignments, etc. I did get stuff done late sometimes, but I did get it done.”
Excelling despite odds
Brown grew up in a single-mother household. She is the oldest of three siblings. Her twin sister, K’Maya, is a junior at Seabreeze, and her brother, Markello, is 11.
“I was always motivated and inspired by my surroundings. I live in an area with high poverty, drugs and crime. I want better for myself and family,” said Brown.
Brown was raised by both her mother, Lakeisha Green, and grandmother, Victoria Green-Marion. She has spent time living with each separately.
“It was pretty challenging at times, but my family did all they could for me. I was raised by both my mother and grandmother although I often lived with Grandma. I appreciate their help and sacrifices for me,” Brown remarked.
A proud grandma
Brown will be the first of her grandmother’s grandchildren to graduate high school and attend college.
Her grandmother has always seen her granddaughters’ drive.
“K’Moya has always been very determined. One thing we did was instill in her at an early age to have determination and be goal-driven. She is very smart, intelligent, outgoing, outspoken and hard working. She loves people, life and family,” emphasized Green-Marion.
‘Determined and focused’
Brown’s mother is also proud of her.
Green said, “She has always been determined and focused. Her dream of being a pediatric cardiologist has been there for the longest. She always was focused when it came to academics. It wasn’t easy raising her and her siblings, but we did put God first and education second.”
Credits computer center
In addition, Brown credits a small computer center at the Pine Haven Apartments with assisting her with academic success.
She spent plenty of days in the Pine Haven Neighborhood Networks Center, which is part of Neighborhood Networks, a nonprofit learning and technology center aimed at helping low and moderate income families with self-sufficiency through technology. The program is under the Daytona Beach Housing Authority.
Brown expressed, “What really helped me academically was having that computer center there. I didn’t have the internet or a computer at home. Fortunately, I was able to the center and do my homework, write papers, take online classes and do projects. It really helped me a lot with school.”
Advice for others
Due to restructuring, that center has closed.
“I dislike the fact that it’s closed. Summer is coming up and a lot of kids don’t have anything to do. Places like that help keep kids out of trouble. It’s another avenue for them. They could at least go there for an hour,” said Brown.
With life’s challenges ahead, Brown is ready to give it a go.
“Life won’t be easy, but I am up for the challenge,” she noted.
Her advice to other youth is quite simple.
“Stay focused and stay determined. Prioritize education,’’ she added.