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8th grader walks 6 miles to graduation, rewarded with college tuition

Harris-Stowe State University's president was inspired by an eighth grader's dedication to attend his promotion ceremony.
Xavier Jones holding a presidential scholarship certificate.
Posted at 2:27 PM, Jun 01, 2023

Xavier Jones was rewarded for his efforts after walking two hours to attend his eighth grade promotion ceremony in St. Louis last month.

Harris-Stowe State University, which hosted the graduation ceremony, announced it would give Xavier a full ride upon graduation from high school. The university said President LaTonia Collins Smith was "so moved by his dedication and perseverance, she offered him a Presidential scholarship." 

He will receive full tuition, room and books from the university. 

"Jones was determined to attend his promotional ceremony, so he asked his brother and friend to walk with him from West Florissant and Mimika in North St. Louis City, all the way to Harris-Stowe State University, located in Midtown, where the promotion ceremony was being held," the university said. 

The walk was approximately six miles. 

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"I remember something Mr. Seals (Xavier’s mentor) told me. He said, 'If I want it, I got to go get it,'" Xavier told KTVI-TV."So, I wanted to graduate, so I was going to go to my graduation."

Xavier was a student at Yeatman-Liddell Middle School in St. Louis.

"I’m going to achieve something great by graduating just like everybody else. I want to be a NASCAR driver," Xavier told KTVI.

Harris-Stowe State University said that Xavier and his family received tickets to the Illinois 300 NASCAR series.