Ain’t it a blessing!
Xavier Jones is a St. Louis, Missouri native who made headlines a few weeks ago after persevering to make it to his 8th grade graduation, KMOV reports. The 14-year-old is a student at Yeatman Middle School. His graduation was supposed to be held at Harris Stowe State University on the opposite side of town and unfortunately, on graduation day, his grandfather’s car broke down. While most would’ve been dejected and just missed the big day, Xavier came up with a plan of his own.
“I looked up Harris Stowe University on Google Maps and then I saw the walking distance and then I said I could probably make it,” Xavier recalled.
After enrolling his brother and a friend in the plan, the three made the 6-mile journey together, walking two hours with a little bit of water to ensure Xavier made it to graduation.
“I wanted to walk across the stage…If you want something done, you gotta go ahead and do it yourself,” said Xavier.
The teen made it to graduation and received his diploma. School officials and faculty at Harris Stowe State were so impressed that the University presented the teen with a full ride to the university, Xavier earning a presidential scholarship that would cover his tuition, books and fees when he graduates from high school.
“Many of our students come with a story and many of our students come with environmental barriers they have overcome or that they are currently overcoming…I just led with my heart and I followed my heart and my heart said this is a kid that needs a scholarship, said Harris Stowe University President Dr. Latonia Collins Smith.
After Xavier’s story went viral, others also wanted to step in and support the young scholar, Miami Dolphins player Terron Armstead setting up a few surprises of his own, Live 5 News reports. This week, during Armstead’s celebrity basketball game, he presented Xavier with a new $5,000 electric bike and his family received a new $40,000 minivan on behalf of Armstead and his partners so Xavier won’t have to worry about transportation again.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” said Xavier.
“This means a whole lot. I don’t know what to say. I’m so thankful,” his grandfather added.
Xavier’s grandfather takes care of the teen, who has Sickle Cell Anemia, and his six siblings after their mom passed away some years ago, KMOV reports. Armstead said he was inspired by Xavier’s determination and just wanted to do his part.
“We hear a story like Xavier. It’s only right. Follow Xavier’s example. He’s a leader whether he wanted to be or not. His story is inspiring. It’s motivating. That’s what leaders do,” said Armstead.
This weekend Team Armstead hosted our 1st celebrity basketball game, and our 9th youth football camp, but the real star of the show was Xavier Jones! This young man walked 6 miles to school and to his own graduation, with a 4.0 gpa! pic.twitter.com/5nI4xpWdKk— T. Stead 🎤🎧 (@T_Armstead72) June 5, 2023
Xavier hopes to one day become a Nascar driver and plans to take full advantage of his scholarship to Harris Stowe State University when he graduates high school. He took a tour after graduation and the teen said he was already excited for the future.
“It means that I’m going to do something great and that I finally made it out of the 8th grade. There’s a lot of fun stuff you can do at this campus,” said Xavier.
President Collins Smith said Xavier’s story is a reminder to keep going no matter what obstacles you face.
“At the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold. I learned a lot from Xavier that day. Even on your worst day keep pressing forward,” she said.
Cover photo: Teen who walked two hours to his 8th grade graduation is blessed with full scholarship & new transportation/Photo Courtesy of Harris Stowe State University