This Grad Bounces Back when Things Don’t Go as Planned

  • 6/1/2022 2:52:00 PM

This story is part of a series of profiles the Ventura County Office of Education is presenting about outstanding graduating seniors in the Class of 2022.

Kendall1Kendall Brown learned about loss at a young age when his father was infected by a life-threatening flesh-eating bacteria. The doctors said the only hope for survival was amputation. But his dad, who had re-learned to walk after surviving a plane crash when he was in the military, couldn’t bear to give up his legs. The bacteria eventually took its toll, and Kendall ended up losing his father when he was just six years old.

Kendall has spent a lot of time trying to understand his dad’s decision. “He was really independent and wanted to have the power in his hands,” Kendall recalls of his dad. Perhaps the memory of his father is one of the reasons Kendall is driven to make the most of his own life. 

C22logoKendall will soon graduate from Thousand Oaks High School as a valedictorian with a 4.63 grade point average. He was on the varsity tennis team, volunteered as a tutor, and held down jobs as a lifeguard and cashier. He’s also an avid musician who was the drum major in the band and played viola in the school orchestra.

Despite his impressive resume, Kendall was crushed to find out he only got in to one of the eight leading universities he was dreaming of attending. “It was a huge slap in the face,” he says. While he was happy to be admitted to USC, his family couldn’t afford the tuition. 

So, this fall, Kendall will attend the University of California, Merced and major in political science. He plans to pursue a career in the legal profession. “I want to contribute to society and create change that addresses inequalities,” he says. “Every citizen can do that by voting, but being a judge or a lawyer would give me more of a chance to make a difference.”

Kendall says his difficulty with college admissions has reminded him that being successful requires overcoming adversity and believing in yourself no matter what – a lesson we can all learn from. “We all have bad days, and it can really get us down,” he says. “But I want people to be grateful and hopeful about the future and to keep moving forward.”


More Inspiring Stories about the Ventura County Class of 2022

  • Maggie Melendez - Simi Valley High School

    First-Generation College Student Has Her Eye on Career with the FBI

  • Hans Bach-Nguyen - Adolfo Camarillo High School

    Harvard-Bound Grad is an Advocate for Equity in Education


  • Alex Loza - Foothill Technology High School

    Student’s “Beautiful Journey” is Leading to a Bright Future


  • Nikita Manyak - Oak Park High School

    Teen Mental Health is a Priority for this Accomplished Grad


  • Carolina Martinez - Santa Paula High School

    Daughter of Migrant Workers is Headed to UC Berkeley


  • Kendall Brown - Thousand Oaks High School

    This Grad Bounces Back when Things Don’t Go as Planned