Won’t He do it?!
A Texas valedictorian who had her title stripped due to a district error is now graduating from college nearly debt free, WFAA reports.
Destiny Brannon’s story first made headlines in 2018. The Desoto, Texas high school student finished out her senior year thinking she was valedictorian of her class. Not only did she believe it, the school and district confirmed it, awarding her a plaque, honoring her in front of the school board, and allowing her to speak at graduation as class valedictorian.
However, not soon after she graduated, the Desoto Independent School District revealed to Brannon that they had made an error in their rankings, Brannon actually falling in at No. 3 in her class. While the error that would bother any proud high school scholar, this mistake was about more than pride. In the state of Texas, students who graduate as valedictorian from a school accredited by the Texas Education Agency are eligible to have their first year of tuition waived at any public college or university. Brannon, who had already been accepted at the University of Texas (UT) was counting on her first year being free, and her family, who had recently closed on a new home, were also looking forward to not coughing up nearly $25,000 in tuition costs for Brannon's first year.
“I was very distraught about the situation, because I didn’t know how I would pay for school at the time. I kind of didn’t have a backup plan,” she recalled.
That’s when the teen got the idea to start a GoFundMe, asking the community to help pay the $25,000 tuition. Unexpectedly, people showed up and showed out, Brannon raising more than $40,000, with one donor giving $10,000 to her cause.
“I made sure to thank everyone who donated. I just felt so blessed and overwhelmed,” said Brannon.
Unbeknownst to her, the blessings would keep pouring in and once UT got wind of Brannon’s story, the university made the decision to pay for her books and housing for her entire undergrad career. Without having to cover housing and books, Brannon was able to use the money she raised to cover almost all of her tuition for the last four years. Now 22-years-old, Brannon is getting ready to graduate in May almost completely debt free.
“Everything ended out working perfectly. I just feel very blessed and overwhelmed… [The University] did NOT have to do that, so I’m very grateful they wanted to help me,” said Brannon.
She’ll be receiving her undergrad degree in Health and Society, slated to begin nursing school in Dallas at Baylor. Brannon says she’s always felt a calling to help people and she hopes that one day she can do that, in the same way that people helped her.
“I’ve always wanted to help people and care for their needs…I hope that one day I’m able to give back in some large capacity, as everyone gave to me,” Brannon said.
Congratulations, Destiny! The sky is only the beginning!
Photo Courtesy of WFAA