COURAGE ON CAMPUS: Batesburg-Leesville High student is academic whiz in a wheelchair

08/16/2014 9:58 PM

08/16/2014 9:59 PM

Malik Brown wants to stay in the classroom in a different role after graduating from Batesburg-Leesville High in the spring.

His goal is to become an instructor in mathematics, a subject in which officials at the Lexington 3 school say Malik excels.

It’s a dream his teachers say is possible even though the 17-year-old’s cerebral palsy confines him to a wheelchair and requires him to communicate by typing into speech-generating equipment.

“I love math,” he said by typing. “It is not boring – something different every day.”

Brown always tries to exceed goals set for him, according to his grandmother and guardian, Debra Risinger.

“He knows what they expect of him and wants to be better than that,” she said of his teachers. “He strives for perfection.”

Brown needs extra time for tests and assignments but is willing to help struggling students learn, teachers say.

“I hope to help somebody that struggles with math because I have patience,” he said.

Another goal is to “put smiles on faces,” he said.

Brown ranks in the top third academically of his class of 98 students.

“I like to learn and become smarter,” he said.

Away from the classroom, he reads, listens to music, watches movies and uses social media.

“It’s really awesome all he has achieved,” said Kay Alford, a special needs teacher. “He has overcome the odds.”

One seemingly small but important challenge lies ahead as Malik approaches graduation. His family is searching for a specially equipped van to transport him to college, initially Midlands Tech.

Right now, it seems unaffordable, Risinger said. But they have a little time on their side.

And when it comes to Malik, the impossible so far has been possible.

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