After a 14-year-old walked more than 6 miles to get to his middle school graduation, the President of his local college awarded him with a fully paid 4 year scholarship. 14-year-old Xavier Jones planned to go to his graduation for Yeatman Middle School in St. Louis,
but before the graduation, his grandfather’s car broke down. Xavier has lived with his grandfather since his mother passed a few years ago, and without getting a ride from him, he didn’t have any other options to get to the ceremony.
Unsure of what to do but still wanting to go, the 4.0 GPA student decided that he would walk the 6.5 miles in order to get to his graduation and to get his diploma. “The shoes that he walked in had holes in the bottom, holes in the top,” said Darren Seals, a mentor of Xavier’s. “A two and a half hour walk… a long road… I wouldn’t have walked it.”
“The reason why I did it was to get my diploma,” Xavier said. “I wanted to get [to] my graduation… [and get] all my awards and stuff.” Word spread among the teachers and staff about how Xavier had walked more than two hours to get to the graduation ceremony, and the President of Harris-Stowe State University,
Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith, heard as well. She was so moved by his dedication and perseverance that she offered him a full scholarship to HSSU that will cover four years of tuition, housing, books and fees.
“He spoke resilience… For a kid, who wanted to press his way, regardless of what adversity, regardless of the fact that he didn’t have transportation, he was still determined to come, and be present,” Dr. Smith said.