Senior Wins Free Ride, Gives Away His College Savings

A Missouri teen with an impressive record decided to pay it forward
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2021 8:43 AM CDT
Senior Wins Scholarship, Gives Away His Own Savings
Mortarboards with 2021 tassels.   (Photo by RODNAE Productions/Pexels)

Joshua Nelson worked hard to get good grades and save money for college. Turns out he only needed the grades, and now he’s giving away the money. Nelson, an 18-year-old high school senior, was one of five out of 288 applicants to win a President’s Scholarship to Southeast Missouri State University. Since that’s a full ride, valued at $43,000, CNN reports that he can afford to pay forward the $1,000 he had saved up for college. He donated it to a scholarship fund so that another student in need can get a hand up, and he’s hoping local businesses will match his gift.

Nelson is known as a leader in his school. He plays varsity basketball, tutors younger kids, is a member of the National Honor Society, and the National Society of Black Engineers, and a few other groups. And, “he just has a heart for people," his school counselor, Yolanda Curry, tells KSDK. Curry isn’t Nelson’s only fan. A classmate, Harmony Hudson, calls him an inspiration for others, "especially students of color." How does he feel about all of the attention? "Honestly, it makes me feel on top of the world. The fact that I can just help somebody a little bit makes me feel great and I really want to see other people succeed," Nelson says.
(More high school graduation stories.)

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