Despite not having transportation, he was determined to walk on stage and receive his diploma during the ceremony.
The road to success is full of hurdles and this young boy's story is no different. He walked 6 miles to reach his school for his 8th-grade graduation. The authorities appreciated his perseverance and even awarded it by offering him a scholarship. “If you want something done, you gotta go ahead and do it yourself,” said 14-year-old Xavier Jones.
Jones' journey started from Florissant Avenue and ended at Harris Stowe State University, a total of 6 miles. Since he did not have a ride, he decided to take the journey on foot as he was determined to walk on the stage and get his diploma, reports KAKE.
“I was going to tell an adult, but my grandpa’s car was down. So I was just going to walk there,” he said. Neither his grandpa nor the school staff at Yeatman Middle School knew how he could come. The ceremony did not occur at his school but at Harris-Stowe State University. “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 explained. “I wanted to walk across the stage.”
A North City teenager walked more than two hours in order to make it to his 8th graduation. His journey from two ends of the city has led him to secure a full ride for his future. https://t.co/rEZhrYsBQu— KMOV (@KMOV) June 1, 2023
He was not alone on this journey as his brother and friend accompanied him along the way. It took them two and a half hours from his home to the University. Dr. Latonia Collins Smith, the president of the university, said: “When I heard that story and to see that young man who was so bright and excited and driven. It spoke volumes to me. It spoke of resilience, persistence and perseverance."
"Regardless of what the adversity is, I’m going to press my way to this promotion ceremony. So that is what sparked my interest in saying, ‘Hey, this is the type of kid that we want to recruit to Harris-Stowe.’”
She also told News 4, “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." Thus, his school rewarded him with a full-ride presidential scholarship once he passed out of high school. His scholarship includes four years of tuition, books and student fees.
A 6-mile trek that took 2 hours: St. Louis teen walks to 8th grade graduation: https://t.co/Og4kf0FPku— KY3 News (@kytv) June 2, 2023
When Jones heard about the scholarship, he was happy that he got a free ride to college, but he was surprised to know the details of his scholarship. Wait a minute, I don’t have to pay for college?” he asked Seals. Jones wants to be a NASCAR driver after he completes his college education.
“At the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold. I learned a lot from Xavier that day," said the President. "Even on your worst day, keep pressing forward.”