- All School
There is a young man walking around Prep’s campus, with a bright smile, a focused look, and a stealthy, sophisticated skill to film. Senior Tommy Brown has an extraordinary talent with the camera and it is even more remarkable given the obstacles that he has overcome in his young life.
Tommy was born profoundly deaf. Fully deaf on the right and partially on the left. He has worn a hearing aid his entire life and was fitted for a cochlear implant at the age of four. Deafness is often associated with limitations and barriers, but as Tommy says his journey has been “filled with breaking stereotypes and defying expectations.”
Prep’s Fine Arts teacher Robin Russell said, “I vividly remember when Tommy first came to Georgetown Prep. He was going to be in my Foundations of Studio Art. Since he is hearing impaired there were a lot of steps put into place so that he would be able to manage in the classroom. There was also a bit of worry that it might be difficult for him. Well, I can say that it was the opposite. From day one Tommy was one of the most outgoing, motivated, positive, and talented students I have encountered in my 24 years of teaching. Tommy took on every project with full abandon, always working beyond the scope of the assignment.”
A gift from Santa as a young boy ignited a passion project for Tommy. A simple turquoise, plastic Fisher-Price camera allowed him to capture the world one frame at a time. It became his voice and launched his journey to catch stories that others might miss. His creative eye came naturally to him, even from the beginning of his filmmaking journey. “Sometimes I don't even need to plan or think about what shots to get, the angle, lighting…It just pops into my head naturally,” Tommy explained. He found a love for filmmaking mainly because he became the narrator––he could tell a story without worrying about mishearing or keeping up with the conversation. “Filmmaking allowed me to tell a captivating story or entertain people without saying words.”
In addition to other extracurriculars and playing rugby at Prep, Tommy’s commitment to filming deepened throughout high school. He created Tombro Media, a venture that has allowed him to turn his love for visual storytelling into a thriving business. He began exploring the wide-open spaces of the Chesapeake Bay during the pandemic, which was a welcome release for him from the contrasting isolation of his bedroom’s four walls and the endless Zoom classes. He has filmed athletes and musicians and worked with private companies in the greater Washington, D.C. area on drone videography projects. He loves to film Prep football and basketball, requiring him to be in the right place at the right time. He’s got a keen eye for getting the loud boosters, the players warming up, celebrations, gameplay, and more. Tommy’s favorite video project was the 2021 Prep vs. Landon Homecoming Varsity Football game.
Tommy’s family has quite the legacy at Prep dating back to his grandfather, James C. Brown, Class of 1951. He has had 17 relatives attend Prep, and currently, Tommy has two cousins in his class, Ray Huke ’24 and Burke Rembold ’24. Besides the draw of the family legacy, Tommy came to Prep because he loved the big campus yet small-sized student body. Tommy said, “I knew it would be easy to make friends and have a strong connection with my teachers.”
Tommy’s father Marty Brown, Class of 1986, shared some thoughts about his son: “My wife Michelle and I are extremely proud that Tommy is part of the Prep community, and he has been able to excel in different areas in his time at Prep. The structure at Prep with class sizes, teacher office hours, and access to many extra-curricular offerings has helped in his growth and appreciation for Prep. His classes, such as Mr. Gaiser’s ’98, have been a perfect match to help him continue to learn and develop his skills further. We loved seeing Tommy stretch and learn new skills in the Audio Engineering class. This is something we never imagined when he was born. We’re so grateful for all the opportunities Tommy has taken advantage of at Prep.”
Tommy is a shining example of all that is excellent about Prep and Jesuit education– competence, conscience, courage, and compassion to forge one’s own path.
1/8/24 update: Tommy will dual major at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communication in Television, Radio & Film and the iSchool in Information Management and Technology.
Tommy at his home desk where his edits his films and photography.