Sometimes, we don’t realize how much we want something until it becomes a challenge to get it. Xavier Jones discovered this first-hand on the day of his eighth grade graduation. When it came time for his family to head to the ceremony, his grandpa’s car wouldn’t work. Rather than accepting he wouldn’t be able to make it, however, this determined 14 year old came up with a plan.
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The graduation ceremony was taking place at Harris-Stowe State University, a historically Black university in St. Louis, Missouri that was a six-mile walk away. For Xavier, that was a walk he could handle – and so he did. And in doing so, Xavier ventured through tough neighborhoods and busy traffic. To top it all off, it was an especially hot day, and there were holes in his shoes.
As determined as Xavier was to make it there, his journey wasn’t without doubts or struggles. He got so thirsty that he finally had to ask strangers for just a dollar so he could get something to drink. He even considered heading back home. Still, nothing could deter him from his goal.
In fact, Xavier not only made it to his eighth grade graduation, he caught the attention of some very important folks, including Collins Smith, the president of the university the ceremony took place.
“He wanted to be present,” Collins said. “(That) speaks volumes … Half the battle is showing up.”
She was so moved by his actions, in fact, that she offered Xavier a four-year full-ride scholarship to Harris-Stowe State University!
“That kid, that day, it was just something that resonated with my spirit,” she said.
At first, Xavier took the offer literally – he thought he would be getting rides to college. But learning what he actually got did not lessen his excitement. Plus, he won’t have to worry about transportation either. Thanks to some local businesses, Xavier was given a bike and his family was given a new vehicle.
With determination like Xavier’s, there truly is no telling what the future holds for this incredible teen.
“If you like really want to get something, then you have to work hard for it,” Xavier said.
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