INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sixty-five: That’s how many universities wanted to welcome Taran Richardson through their doors in the fall.
Richardson, a senior at Charles A. Tindley Accelerated High School, will be taking his academic talents to Howard University in Washington to study astrophysics. He says that interest was sparked in him before he even knew what college was.
“I was always that kid that enjoyed science,” Richardson said.
His desire to explore outer space was ignited while watching “Star Wars” movies, but his mother, Maurita Willingham, recognized his above-average smarts and was determined to make sure he achieved his full potential. Once she figured out what he could do in the classroom, she demanded his best and wanted it to reflect in his grades.
He took on that challenge and took his expectations up a notch.
“I was a four-sport athlete,” he said.
He competed in soccer, track, cross country and basketball. He was also involved in the National Honor Society and organized his own career fair to stop gun violence. He’s also an Eagle Scout, the highest ranking in the Boy Scouts of America.
“That’s the type of situation that I wanted myself to be in,” Richardson said. “I had so many options.”
“After a while, it was just mail coming in every week,” he said.
Ultimately the choice was the same school attached to his childhood dreams.
“I asked him, ‘What is it about Howard?’” his mother recalled.
His answer was NASA: Howard presented Richardson with the opportunity to be close to NASA’s headquarters and the hope of creating his own major science and technology business. Then he wants to bring that success back to Indianapolis and create opportunities for people in his hometown.
Richardson’s desire to come back and give to his community is his way of showing appreciation to his high school and the city that raised him.
“The saying says it takes a village to raise a child, but with all the support that we had, we didn’t have a village — we had a community,” Richardson said.