Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Forrest Brown is Harvard Bound

Forrest Brown's sense of community came at an early age growing up in Springfield's Midtown Neighborhood. His interest in U.S. foreign policy and politics did too. As one of the Central High School class of 2010 Valedictorians, Forrest Brown will gain a few more life experiences before heading to Harvard in the fall of 2011.

For KSMU, I’m Mike Smith. The process of profiling outstanding youth on this Sense of Community Series began in early May when we asked KSMU listeners to find a few for us. Christine Schilling, a member of the Midtown Neighborhood Association, told us about one of Central High School’s 2010 Valedictorian’s…Forrest Brown. Forrest Brown grew up in Springfield’s Midtown and says the best way he can describe his philosophy on supporting ones community is to say “To the extent that one is able, one should be constantly be improving the lives of others”. In a variety of ways over a number of years, Forrest Brown has stayed true to that philosophy. This 18 year old who has chosen Harvard over Yale, (both schools accepted him) remembers early encouragement from family and friends to get active and engaged in community issues and projects. At 4, he was helping his parents plant trees at Washington Park. His time in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts were filled with community betterment projects, and as often as he can he’s there with his neighbors for the twice yearly “Spick and Span” cleanup of the Midtown area. Forrest Brown says “My parents were part of a group of people who spent a lot of time dedicating themselves to improving the community”. Through those associations, Forrest Brown’s sense of community evolved. Forrest was listening to and joining with his parents in conversation about politics and social issues with their friends at weekly dinners. He says “They’ve been inspirational and have helped shaped my interest in doing things in the community”.Things like joining Springfield’s All Youth Relay For Life Committee in his Sophomore year and spearheading the development of the event web program.Earlier this spring, Forrest was Co-chair of the committee and Co-chair of the main All Youth Relay for Life event bringing in 600-1000 students each bringing in a minimum of $100 for the charity. Forrest says “Its one of the larger high school relays in the country”. Kim Edwards, Community Manager of Development with the American Cancer Society in Springfield, says “Forrest and his co-chair did amazing things with the group they had this year. He did a wonderful job organizing everything.” It was a challenge Forrest Brown was ready for. Early on in his years at Central High School, he organized S.T.A.T. “Students Taking Action Today”. The group generated awareness and actionable interest in issues such as “net neutrality and the Israel Gaza war of 2008-2009”. At age 17 Forrest was hired by the PCCC, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, whose mission Forrest says in part is to elect more progressives to Congress. Today, Forrest is the Senior Organizing Fellow for the PCCC and in April 2009, developed “The Next Generation of Talent” which builds and draws from a national database listing like minded progressives offering to put their individual talents to use in support of targeted campaigns and initiatives across the country. There are over 8000 names on the registry today. Forrest Brown has deferred his admission to Harvard where he wants to study sociology and politics until the fall of 2011, and that’s something Forrest says “the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions there strongly encourages”, to live in Washington D.C this fall while working with the PCCC. In the spring of 2011, Forrest plans to work for a Non Governmental Agency serving the impoverished in Latin America. “I’d like to help those people to come up with ways to come up with business ideas and ways to improve their livelihood”.For KSMU’s Sense of Community Series, I’m Mike Smith.