+
upworthy
Education

Teen who walked 6 miles to his 8th-grade graduation awarded a full-ride college scholarship

"Even on your worst day, keep pressing forward.”

harris-stowe university, xavier jones, scholarships

Xavier Jones is given his scholarship to Harris-Stowe Stete University in St. Louis.

A story out of St. Louis shows how some students have to overcome many more barriers than others on their road to success. But in this student's case, people in important positions recognized his perseverance and rewarded him in a way that could make his future less of a struggle.

According to a report from KAKE, 14-year-old Xavier Jones had no ride to his 8th-grade graduation ceremony, so he walked six miles to pick up his diploma.

“I was going to tell an adult, but my grandpa’s car was down. So I was just going to walk there,” he told KAKE.

Jones was graduating from Yeatman Middle School, but the ceremony was held at Harris-Stowe State University, a public historically-Black university in St. Louis.

“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 told KAKE. “I wanted to walk across the stage.”


Knowing it would be a long walk, he brought along his brother and friend for the journey. To get from his home in West Florissant to Harris-Stowe State University took them two and a half hours.

Darren Seals, Jones’ mentor, called attention to the student's incredible dedication during a speech at the ceremony.

“I had to stop my speech and call him on board and was like, ‘Hey, everybody get off your feet and give him a standing ovation,'” Seals told Fox 2. “They clapped for him. They were like, ‘Woah, this boy walked.'”

Jones’ journey also caught the attention of Dr. Latonia Collins Smith, the president of Harris-Stowe State University, who was impressed by his determination.

“When I heard that story and to see that young man who was so bright and excited and driven,” President Collins Smith said. “It spoke volumes to me. It spoke resilience, persistence, 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.”

President Collins Smith sees Jones as an example of the many barriers that students in the area face to getting an education. “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,” President Collins Smith told KAKE.

To reward his incredible dedication, the school gave him a full-ride scholarship for when he graduates high school. The scholarship includes four years of tuition, books and student fees.

When Jones heard he got a “free ride” to college, he thought it meant transportation. When Seals explained it was a scholarship, Jones couldn’t believe it. “Wait a minute, I don’t have to pay for college?” he asked Seals.

Jones hopes he can be a NASCAR driver after he graduates college.

“At the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold. I learned a lot from Xavier that day," says President Collins Smith. "Even on your worst day, keep pressing forward.”

Where is the third dog in this photo?

Optical illusions are wild. The way our brains perceive what our eyes see can be way off base, even when we're sure about what we're seeing.

Plenty of famous optical illusions have been created purposefully, from the Ames window that appears to be moving back and forth when it's actually rotating 360 degrees to the spiral image that makes Van Gogh's "Starry Night" look like it's moving.

But sometimes optical illusions happen by accident. Those ones are even more fun because we know they aren't a result of someone trying to trick our brains. Our brains do the tricking all by themselves.

Keep ReadingShow less
Internet

Woman's rare antique turned away from 'Antique Roadshow' for beautiful heart-wrenching reason

"I just love you for bringing it in and thank you so much for making me so sad."

Photos by Murat Rahim Caglak and Antoni Shkraba via Canva

Woman's antique turned away from 'Antique Roadshow'

People come by things in all sorts of ways. Sometimes you find something while at a garage sale and sometimes it's because a family member passed away and it was left to them. After coming into possession of the item, the owner may be tempted to see how much it's worth so it can be documented for insurance purposes or sold.

On a recent episode of BBC One's Antique Roadshow, a woman brought an ivory bracelet to be appraised. Interestingly enough, the expert didn't meet this rare find with excitement, but appeared somber. The antique expert, Ronnie Archer-Morgan carefully explains the purpose of the bracelet in what appears to be a tense emotional exchange.

There would be no appraisal of this antique ivory bracelet adorned with beautiful script around the circumference. Archer-Morgan gives a brief disclaimer that he and the Antique Roadshow disapprove of the trade of ivory, though that was not his reason for refusing the ivory bangle.

Keep ReadingShow less

How often should you wash your jeans?

Social media has become a fertile breeding ground for conversations about hygiene. Whether it’s celebrities bragging about how little their family bathes or battles over how often people should wash their sheets or bras.

One of the debates that gets the most diverse responses is how often people wash their denim jeans.

Denim atelier Benjamin Talley Smith tells Today that jeans should be washed "as little as possible, if at all.” Laundry expert Patric Richardson adds they should be cleaned “after nine or 10 wearings, like to me, that is the ideal." At that point, they probably have stains and are "a little sweaty by that point, so you need to wash 'em," Richardson says.

Still, some people wash and dry them after every wear while others will hand wash and never hang dry. With all these significant differences of opinion, there must be a correct answer somewhere, right?

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

The amount of money Americans budgeted for food 100 years ago is mind-boggling

If we think our grocery bills are high now, it's nothing compared to what families spent in the early 1900s.

Even if we shop at the most expensive stores, we still don't spend as much of our income on food as they did in 1901.

As inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in the summer of 2022, Americans keenly felt it at the grocery check-out. It seemed as if prices had gone up on everything, and our food budgets took a hit. Even though inflation has eased since then, many of us are still lamenting the amount we're spending on groceries and dining out every month.

A New York Post headline ominously pronounced in February 2024 that "Americans have not spent this much of their incomes on food since the Gulf War," citing a federal statistic that U.S.consumers spent 11.3% of their disposable income on food—a higher percentage than we've seen in the past 30 years.

But as they say, it's all relative. While we balk at spending 11% of our income on food, families in the early 1900s would have been thrilled at spending that little on food.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Matt Damon shared the wildest story about his rescued 'jungle cat' from Costa Rica

"At no point in this story did I have any idea what would happen next," one viewer wrote.

@colbertlateshow/TikTok, Canva

The cat distribution system reaches even the depth of the jungle.

The cat distribution system always works. Even for celebrities. Just ask Matt Damon.

While appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” the “Jason Bourne” actor shared the wildest story about a stray cat he had adopted 10 years ago during a month-long stay at an Airbnb in Costa Rica.

After hearing him describe this next level kitty, you’ll understand why he describes him as “the coolest cat you’ve ever seen.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

‘Against their beliefs’: Parents won't let daughter go to boy’s Taylor Swift birthday party

“Like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’”

via Jolene Dolo (used with permission)

Popular TikTokker Jolene Dolo.

A TikTok video by the mother of a gender non-conforming son is a masterclass in refusing to be baited into a confrontation, no matter how tempting it may be. It all started when TikTokker Jolene Dolo’s 8-year-old son, Sam, sent out invitations to his Taylor Swift-themed birthday party.

Jolene told Upworthy that Sam doesn’t have a favorite Swift song, but his favorite album is “Lovers.”

“My 8-year-old Sam is having a Taylor Swift birthday party, and yesterday I received a text message from a parent of a child who was invited letting us know that their child will not be attending because it is against their beliefs,” Jolene began.

“I'm not exactly sure what belief system you have, like what religion is out here saying, ‘Thou shalt not listen to Taylor Swift?’” she continued.

Keep ReadingShow less