It was the best early Christmas gift Michel Sidemion could have asked for: On Dec.15, he received an acceptance letter from his dream school: Tufts University. And on Thursday, his unforgettable reaction to the news was posted on social media, racking up tens of thousands of views and plenty of shares.
"I was like, 'Oh my God!'" Sidemion told me. "I didn't even read the rest of the letter after that; I just knew I got in."
The Bronx teenager is currently a senior at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts and is part of the network's first graduating class. The aspiring software engineer says Tufts was his first choice because of their engineering program, the welcoming feeling on campus, and their taekwondo club.
But he knew how competitive it was and was not positive he'd land a spot.
"It was like a 60 percent, you know, feeling in me like, 'I'm gonna get in,'" Sidemion said. "Then there's the rest that's like, 'I don't know what to feel.'"
Sidemion's parents say they're thrilled to see their son's hard work pay off. They say he spent a lot of time on his college applications, and spends countless hours studying.
"Sometimes, I have to knock on the door in the middle the night and tell him, 'Michel, get to bed,'" said Edem Sidemion, Michel's father. "He'd say, 'No, I didn't finish my homework.'"
Sidemion says he's especially proud of his accomplishment as an immigrant; he and his family moved to the United States from Togo in West Africa in 2003. He says his story proves that, with commitment, anything is possible.
"Don't let any stereotypes or barriers bring you down," Sidemion said. "Just prove the world wrong and just be yourself."
As for the video, part of which is seen above? Sidemion says he never expected it to get as many views as it did, but he is glad thousands of others now get to share in his joy with him.