Missouri boy, 14, gets full ride to HBCU after walking six miles to 8th grade graduation


By TheGrio Staff

A St. Louis teen can spend the next four years not stressing over how he’ll pay for college after a six-mile walk to receive his middle-school diploma moved administrators at one historically Black institution to offer him a full-ride scholarship.

Xavier Jones’ scholarship to Harris-Stowe State University in Missouri will cover his tuition, fees and book expenses, according to KMOV St. Louis. Jones, 14, walked six miles from his house to his eighth grade graduation ceremony last month.

“If you want something done,” he said, “you gotta go ahead and do it yourself.”

​​Jones attended Yeatman Middle School, and the Harris-Stowe campus in St. Louis hosted its graduation event.

The determined teen was stuck without a ride after his grandfather’s car broke down at the last minute. He devised a strategy to get there without a ride, enlisting his brother and a friend to accompany him on the six-mile journey.

“I looked up Harris-Stowe University on Google Maps, and then I saw the walking distance,” Jones shared, KMOV reported, “and then I said, ‘I could probably make it.’”

Thankfully, he arrived in time to walk across the stage.

Administrators at Harris-Stowe State University were so inspired after learning about the extent to which Jones went in order to attend his graduation that they gave him a full-ride scholarship to the HBCU when he graduates from high school in four years.

Dr. Latonia Collins Smith, president of Harris-Stowe, said Jones’ tenacity is an example everyone can follow, sending the message to push forward even on your worst day.

She noted that many of her school’s students come with a background and environmental obstacles they have overcome or are overcoming – and Jones’ story serves as a reminder.

“I just led with my heart,” Collins Smith said, according to KMOV, “and I followed my heart, and my heart said, ‘This is a kid that needs a scholarship.’”

Jones was given a private tour of the university’s campus on Wednesday. He says that after graduating, his goal is to drive for NASCAR.

Image: Instagram/@harrisstowe