On Friday (May 26), Lezley McSpadden achieved a goal she placed on hold for nearly two decades. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Michael Brown’s mother received her high school diploma by way of an “adult high school program” based within the Jennings School District. McSpadden, 37, dropped out of high school her junior year to care for her son.
In August 2014, Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. His unjustified death sparked numerous protests across the nation, but it also catalyzed a desire within his mother to continue her education. After his death, McSpadden and Art McCoy, superintendent of the school district, decided to implement a program to help adults obtain their high school diplomas.
“I turned the conversation toward saying, I know she dropped out of school when she had Michael Brown, and that we had to get her educated and get a diploma,” McCoy said. “What better way is it to honor your son than to get the degree he got?” McSpadden also walked alongside her daughter, Deja Brown, who’ll attend Tennessee State University in the fall to pursue a degree in neonatal nursing.
“I know it’s something that she’s wanted to do,” McSpadden’s daughter said. “She’s done it and she’s worked really hard, and she’s so excited and I’m excited for her!”
In an interview with CNN, McSpadden said her son was by her side throughout the process. “I know that he’s been my angel through this all and I know that he’s proud of me,” she said.