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RHHS senior earns tuitition free education
Next stop -- MIT
DeMarcus Patterson plans to study computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has agreed to pay his tuition. - photo by Photo provided.

Richmond Hill High School senior will graduate May 21 and venture to Boston to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Yes, MIT.

DaMarcus Patterson, 18, had his sights set high when he applied.

He received early acceptance in December. All of his hard work paid off.

"The regular decision date is March 14," Patterson said. "I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait that long."

His reaction upon his acceptance letter’s arrival? Relief. His parents, Donald and Classie Patterson, were ecstatic.

Not only did he get accepted to MIT, but the prestigious school will pay his tuition.

To avoid boredom this past summer, Patterson turned to Google to search for summer programs that would interest him. MIT popped up.

"I just found it on the Internet," he said.

During his summer program at MIT, Patterson discovered that he wants to study computer science and engineering while in attendance at MIT. Like most college freshmen, Patterson isn’t quite sure what he wants do when he graduates college.

"I don’t know if I want to do something on the Microsoft side or programming rovers that are on different planets," he said.

MIT’s summer program entailed tasks such as building radar systems and conducting experiments. He even got to study underwater robotics during the three-week program.

The summer program wasn’t far off from what Patterson likes to do in his free time, such as coding. Coding can be anything from creating a smartphone app to reorganizing data on a website. Patterson is still developing an app that will hear different instruments playing and detect what kind of instrument it is.

"I’m not sure if it’s going to work correctly," he said.

Patterson’s favorite subject is physics. He takes AP physics at RHHS taught by Sarah Lemmons, who was influential on his decision to attend MIT’s summer program.

Patterson’s other passion is music. He plays French horn in the RHHS band. He also knows how to play the piano. He was fourth chair at the all state competition.

"My favorite song to play is ‘Adventures on Earth from the movie ‘E.T.,’" he said.

Patterson’s favorite kind of music is classical. His favorite composer is Sergei Prokofiev. Patterson plans to continue play in MIT’s band.

At RHHS, Patterson is also in the Beta Club, math team and National Honor Society. He tutors other students in math.

Patterson’s biggest challenge on his journey to MIT, he said, was that he came down with a minor case of senioritis that would break his focus from time to time. But his sister Precious pushed him through it though. She helped him with his essays and offered sound advice, he said.

"Precious said I have potential and that I could change the world." Patterson said.

While excited to be going to college, Patterson said he will miss his family the most. He will miss his friends. He is, however, excited to meet new people in Massachusetts. He loves that MIT has such a diverse student population.

"I thought it was going to be a bunch of nerds, but there are people that are into so many different things," he said.

Patterson also will miss his tight-knit community in Richmond Hill. Massachusetts will be a big step up, but he has the confidence that he will succeed.

When asked what advice he would give to other students who are about to start their applications, he replied with a simple answer. "Do what you like."

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