Anton Horton is the student in class who is never afraid to ask questions. He is the friend who always speaks up for what he believes in. He is the kind of leader who won’t stop working until he feels he’s made an impact. With tenacity, pride and fearlessness, Horton is changing the Adrian College experience.
Over the course of his undergraduate career, Horton’s voice within the student body has amplified new kinds of conversations on campus and across the country. He is involved in the Student Government Association, and most notably, Brothers in Action, an organization focused on retaining African American students on campus. His journey to leadership, however, hasn’t always traveled on an upward trajectory. After quitting basketball his sophomore year, he had to find a purpose beyond identifying as a student-athlete.
“In 2014, I came in with about 20 freshmen on the basketball team. I was ready to have fun and wasn’t even thinking about who was going to be here next semester or next year,” Horton said of his first year at school. “Most of my friends ended up leaving, and when they left, I wasn’t doing as well in the classroom. I was thinking to myself, ‘What am I going to do now?’”
Horton then realized he couldn’t be alone in feeling isolated. His sophomore year, he and a friend went to Academic Services to see if they could start a club to support African American students at Adrian College.
That was back in 2015. Now, Brothers in Action still aims to retain students, but is open to anyone at AC who needs an outlet to express themselves. Horton attests because of the support members receive, students that are involved in Brothers in Action are compelled to succeed in the classroom and see a 30 percent GPA increase after only one semester of participation.
“We are successful because we talk about our problems amongst each other. We believe students respond best to other students and students hold students accountable,” Horton said, explaining the organization. “I believe it is very important for schools to focus on the retention rates of African American students. This is a program where we have been invited to different conferences because other colleges believe they have the same need.”
Horton also attributes the success of his leadership and Brothers in Action to the relationships built with staff and faculty at Adrian College.
“If we were at a bigger university, we would not see this kind of success,” Horton said. “In being able to work with people like Bridgette Winslow, Andrea Milner, and President [Jeffrey] Docking about things I believe need to be addressed, I have developed confidence. I’ll be a leader one day for sure, but that would not have happened without Adrian College.”
Horton’s motivation to change the world stems from his unique background growing up as a Detroit native. He goes home often to speak to elementary and middle schools on the importance of confidence, especially when trying new things. With Adrian College, he has traveled to New York and Atlanta to talk about how Brothers in Action is making a difference. While public speaking may be what he is best known for around the Bulldog mile, Horton is also an aspiring author. He is already drafting books he hopes will relate to first-generation African American college students to inspire them to be their own kind of leaders.
After graduation, Horton plans on joining the military, then attending Wayne St. University to earn his master’s degree in Education and Leadership. Ultimately, he says he wants to become the superintendent of Detroit Public Schools.
“I believe that’s my passion and I believe that’s my calling, so I will be the superintendent at Detroit Public Schools someday,” Horton said confidently.