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Airbnb; graduation; Airbnb stock
Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

graduates

Have you ever thought, “Man, I sure wish someone would just hand me a check or at least some stock in a successful company”? The way rent, gas and everything (gestures broadly at the entire economy) is going right now, an unexpected windfall would be helpful to most people, but especially to high schoolers heading off to college or beginning their journeys as young adults.

That’s exactly what happened to the graduating class of Snellville, Georgia's Brookwood High School. The co-founder of Airbnb (and former graduate of Brookwood High), Joe Gebbia, surprised the graduating class of 2022 with shares in his company. Each graduate will receive 22 shares of Airbnb stock. Obviously the kids can’t immediately spend the stocks, though if they wanted to sell them for college supplies instead of hanging on to them and watching their value grow they could, I guess.


Gebbia graduated from the school in 2000 and announced during his speech the gift he had for all 890 graduating seniors. The gift amounts to around $2,428.80 per graduate, which is certainly more than most receive in a graduation card. In total the co-founder gifted the students more than $2 million in Airbnb stock. It wouldn’t be surprising if the newly graduated teens have no idea what to do with their new stock given that most high schools don’t really go over investing and stock market rules.

William Smith, who was a recipient of the generous gift, told the Gwinnett Daily Post that he may ask his grandfather, who is well-versed on the stock market, what to do with his shares as he’s still trying to figure out what to do with the stock. Smith told the paper, “Everybody right now is still amazed and in shock that he gave such a generous gift to us. People haven’t really thought long term. People are just like, ‘Wow, he came back and was just so generous.’ Talk about not forgetting your roots.”

This isn’t the first time the co-founder has given back to his old high school. Last November, he donated $700,000 to the school to create and fund the Joe Gebbia Visual Arts Endowment. The money will also create immersive resources for student athletes that attend Brookwood High.

The new high school graduates had no idea they’d be leaving school with shares in a global company and getting an opportunity to start building a stock portfolio. Hopefully this boost will be just what they need to head into adulthood with the potential for more financial security.

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