Alex (18) and Aryton (16) Little are teenagers from Opelousas who are heading to two of the highest ranked universities in the country. Their accomplishments are amazing alone, but the journey that brought them to this moment made it even more deserving.
Maureen Little is a culinary instructor in the small town of Washington, Louisiana. Over the years, she said her family has struggled financially. Little said one thing she never had to worry about was her sons’ grades. “Report cards came in and it was all A’s and one B. They received 4.000 and 3.85. That was the one the good thing. It was the one weight lifted off of my shoulders that they were making good grades,” said Little.
The teens attend T.M. Landry Prep in Breaux Bridge where they are ranked top two in their class. Both teens scored a 34 on their ACT’s. Aryton will be attending Harvard University and Alex will be heading to Stanford University. Their acceptance videos have gone viral. “I never thought I would be going to Harvard, but at the same time it was in the back of my mind,” said Ayrton. “If you would have asked me a year or two years ago if I was going to Stanford, I would have been like ha, that’s funny,” said Alex.
Little’s youngest son, Adrian, passed away from an asthma attack in 2013. Both Alex and Aryton said it’s been motivation to keep aiming for higher. “Once I feel myself getting prideful, I feel like I’m going to get lazy so I can never let myself get prideful because once I get prideful, I get lazy and I get nothing done. This would all be for nothing,”said Alex.
Little said it’s hard to find the words to describe the pride she feels for her children. Alex and Aryton are not only brothers, but best friends. Alex said he is happier for Aryton than he is for himself. “I just gained more and more respect for him. He’s doing great things and I can’t take any of that away from him,” said Alex.
Aryton’s goal is to work on Wall Street and start a non-profit organization. Meanwhile, Alex said he’s thinking of diving deeper into physics. At the end of the day though, they said they just want to make their mother proud. “There were times when it was rough and I had glimpses and ideas of what the situation was like, but just to be able to see that perseverance all the way through. I think it really helped mold me,” said Alex. “She’s taught me that I will have responsibilities. I have responsibilities now and I can’t just stop when something happens. I have to persevere,” said Ayrton.
Both are still just trying to wrap their heads around these great achievements. “I was just thinking we really both did it. Two of the top schools in the world, we really both did it,” said Alex.
Both Alex and Ayrton received full-ride scholarships. They’ll be attending college next fall.