Heartwarming moment a teen learns he’s been accepted to Cornell (VIDEO)

This is when the sacrifice we make as mothers all becomes worth it.

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Eflon | Flickr

When you’re raising kids, you often think of the future: I can’t wait till we’re past the diapers stage. I hope my kid starts sleeping through the night soon. Maybe we can ditch the stroller by next summer. Sometimes, thoughts of the more distant future creep in: Will my child go to college? What will they study? Will I even be able to afford it?

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That’s what makes this new video, which has been viewed millions of times in the last few days, of a Louisiana teen so thrilling—it’s the moment when Brandon Gauthier, who was raised by a single mother, first sees his acceptance letter to Cornell University. This is the moment they find out that all their hard work and sacrifice paid off—that he will get an excellent education and the groundwork for his career. For a parent, it’s an incredibly emotional scene. (Keep your volume low, or the sudden excitement can be startling.)

The Cornell Sun contacted Brandon to get his thoughts on this amazing accomplishment—and how the camera didn’t capture the moment he saw his family and broke down: “What’s not in there is me crying,” he said. “As soon as I got to my family, I immediately just broke down. Whenever I saw them, I saw my history—I saw my life throughout 17 years and all the trials and tribulations that I went through.”

Brandon, who comes from a low-income family, said that his mother worked long hours and encouraged him to study hard to make this opportunity for himself, and now he’s hoping to support her in return: “If I didn’t want [a good grade] for myself, I sure wanted it for my mom,” Gauthier said. “If I don’t succeed, then I’m letting her down. … That’s what’s always fueled my drive: to get my family in a better situation.” He said he chose Cornell in part due to the strong sense of community and family-like atmosphere.

Now he’s off to follow his dream of becoming a veterinarian—and, he hopes, to inspire other kids to work hard too.

“Throughout my life, coming from where I’m from, I didn’t have a lot of collegiate role models,” Gauthier said. “I want my video to motivate that next kid.” A lovely sentiment—maybe even one he learned from his mom.


Leigh Anderson
Leigh Anderson

Leigh Anderson is the author of “The Games Bible: The Rules, The Gear, The Strategies” (Workman, 2010) and has written for Vox, Newsweek.com, and Popular Science, among others.

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