When faced with adversity, people react in one of two ways: One person might give up, while another uses the experience to spur them on. Jeremiah Armstead falls into the latter category!
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The 19-year-old high school senior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was recently accepted into college. While just getting in is always a huge accomplishment, in Jeremiah’s case, it’s even more impressive because he spent most of his high school years without a roof over his head.
Jeremiah and his mother, brother, and sister spent the past three years living in cars, hotels, and domestic violence shelters. He never told anyone at school, choosing instead to hide his housing woes and focus on developing his academics and basketball skills. It was that drive to succeed that got him an invitation to attend Fisk University, a historically Black college (HBCU) that recruited him to play on their basketball team.
Jeremiah was over the moon when mom Mindy Brooks told him he’d been accepted. Looking back, he says, “any type of adversity that I went through, for the most part, it motivated me and pushed me.”
Over the years, Jeremiah was supported by family, coaches, and non-profits like Sisters of Watts.
“He was just such a bright young man,” said Keisha Daniels of Sisters of Watts. “He had a lot of adversities in his life, and he told me how he desired to go to HBCU, and I said, ‘you know what? We’re going to make this happen.'”
Keisha reached out to We Educate Brilliant Minds, an organization that helps students get into HBCU.
“I did my own research on him and found out his history and everything that he’s gone through,” said Stephen Bernstein of We Educate Brilliant Minds. “Especially being a homeless athlete, I think it made me work even harder to get him across.”
Always a team player, Jeremiah says he couldn’t have done it without their help and guidance.
“I was bringing smarts, of course, but it was hard to do that being homeless and juggling everything, like domestic violence situations, just stuff like that,” he said. “Living in a shelter, living in a car — it was hard to think, go to school, worry about my mom or my brother, my sister.”
Now that he’s been accepted into the Class of 2026, Jeremiah hopes his achievements will open doors for his siblings, too. Both of his siblings are already talking about going to Fisk!
Jeremiah will head to Fisk University to study kinesiology and play on the men’s basketball team. He hopes his successes reach beyond his own family and inspire other young people experiencing homelessness to work hard towards their dreams.
“That’s all I needed,” he said. “That’s all I ever needed in life was a chance.”
Jeremiah refused to let his current circumstances stand in the way of his future. We can’t wait to root for him as he takes the world by storm this fall!
Share this story to congratulate Jeremiah on beating the odds.
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