Michael Brown’s mom earns diploma 21 years after dropping out to care for him

Three years after Michael Brown was shot dead by a Ferguson officer, his mother and little sister graduated high school on the same day.

It’s been three years since Michael Brown was shot dead by a Ferguson police officer, but this summer, there is something to celebrate in the family: his mother and little sister have both graduated high school on the same day.

Lezley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, graduated from Jennings Senior High School on Friday, and Brown’s little sister, Deja Brown, was right there with her.

Deja told St. Louis American that the two of them hardly saw each other, even if they were attending the same school, because McSpadden “would just go to afternoon class, so we never really interacted at school or in class or anything.”

“But I did help her on homework. Like, math, she was like, ‘I’m stuck! I don’t understand this!’ so I would try to help her the best I could, because it was Geometry, which I took already,” she continued.

Deja is set to attend Tennessee State University this fall and hopes to become a neonatal nurse. She has already started working in healthcare and will become a certified pharmacy technician this summer.

McSpadden, meanwhile, is aware of her status as the first graduate from the school’s adult program and “has a purpose now to try to uphold the legacy of her son.”

“I know it’s something that she’s wanted to do. She’s done it and she’s worked really hard, and she’s so excited and I’m excited for her!” Deja said of her mother, who dropped out of school over two decades ago.

McSpadden’s graduation comes 21 years after she dropped out of high school as a teen mother to care for her now late son.