Stafford student piles up $1.8M in scholarship offers

Armon Barnes, right, may have no problems paying for his college education, and he attributes his success to his family, parents Michael and Anitra Barnes, and sister Mercedes. 

Armon Barnes is a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Brooke Point High School in Stafford who has a big decision to make.

To date, he’s been accepted into 27 colleges and has over $1.8 million in scholarship offers.

“That’s a lot of scholarship money,” he said with a laugh.

Surrounded by his family in their Aquia home, Armon, 17, was humble about his accomplishments.

“They always put that confidence in me that I have a great mindset and capabilities,” he said.

That family includes his mother and father, Anitra and Michael, a Marine Corps veteran, and sister, Mercedes.

“You’ve just got to keep them motivated,” said his mother. “That’s what we need right now, motivators and leaders.”

“We’re very proud,” added Michael Barnes.

Through tears, Mercedes called her brother a genius.

“I don’t see anything stopping him,” she said.

Armon’s success didn’t come without struggle.

For almost a year, the family was homeless after a tree fell through their home on March 2, 2018.

“The whole front porch was gone,” Mercedes said.

Through all of that, Armon remained focused on his studies and classwork. And that dedication has paid off.

The colleges that he has been accepted to include: Wingate, George Mason University, University of Mary Washington, Mary Baldwin University, Mount Saint Mary’s, Radford University, Concord University, Roanoke College, Ashland University, Brenau University, Anderson University, Barry University, Alvernia University, Alma College, Cazenovia College, Baldwin Wallace, Arcadia University, Catawba College, Canisius College, New England College, Michigan State, Albion College, Averett University, Alleghany University, Kentucky University, Stevenson University and Beloit College.

“My first acceptance in November was Wingate College in North Carolina,” Armon said. The school offered him a four-year scholarship worth $102,000.

That spurred him to start applying to even more colleges. The acceptance letters and scholarship offers piled up.

Armon hopes to make a final decision on which school he’ll attend after some visits over spring break. He is interested in pursuing a career in sports psychology.

“A lot of colleges have psychology majors and programs like that,” he said. “The colleges that specialize in sports psychology have doctorates. They are the ones that aren’t in-state. I want to go to a college for three or four years and then transfer to a college with a master’s and Ph.D. program.”

Sports psychologists can work with national sports teams and athletes individually to help them work on their mental game and strategy, Armon explained.

“You can prepare them for their best performance,” he said.

Barnes is a basketball fan and huge fan of the Golden State Warriors. In his junior year of high school, Barnes tore his ACL while playing for a recreational league basketball team, effectively ending his playing days.

“At first I was thinking about being a sports agent because I just love sports and want to be in that field,” he said. “I know I’m not the best basketball player, but over the years I have become more confident and want other people to have that.”

When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, Armon said he hopes to have his doctorate, be in the process of buying his own home and be able to give back to his family who have given him so much.

Julia Ledoux can be reached at

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