Boy Walks 6 Miles To Make It To His Middle School Graduation & Received A College Scholarship

The teen is inspiring many people to "keep pressing forward" even on your worst day.

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After a teenage boy faced a dilemma in his transportation mode to his middle school graduation, he decided to embark on the journey across town to the school entirely on foot. 

His dedication caught the attention of not only the middle school staff but university recruiters who were more than willing to provide him with educational opportunities. 

Xavier Jones walked six miles from his home to his middle school graduation ceremony to receive his diploma. 

The 14-year-old was all set to graduate eighth grade from Yeatman Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. However, on the day of the ceremony, his grandfather’s car broke down, leaving him without a ride. 


Determined to walk the stage and get his diploma, Jones calculated a walking route on Google Maps that would get him to Harris Stowe University, where the graduation was being held, on time. “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,” he told KMOV4 News. 

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 Photo: Facebook 


Jones’s brother and friend tagged along with him to make the six-mile journey across town, only stopping once for a drink of water. The entire walk took two and a half hours to complete. “I wanted to walk across the stage,” Jones says. 

When the teen finally made it to his ceremony, his efforts did not go unnoticed by those conducting it. Darren Seals, Jones’ mentor, praised him for his determination and for undergoing the 10,000-step journey. “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 News. “They clapped for him. They were like, ‘Woah, this boy walked.'” 

Jones’ journey to his graduation also caught the attention of Harris Stowe University President, Dr. Latonia Collins Smith. “When I heard that story and to see that young man who was so bright and excited and driven, it spoke volumes to me,” Collins Smith said. “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.” 

Inspired by Jones’ determination, President Collins Smith offered him a scholarship to Harris Stowe State University. 

The Presidential scholarship includes a full ride to the university with tuition, books, and fees all paid for over the course of four years. It will be waiting for Jones once he graduates high school. 


“She said, ‘You got a full ride,’ and I said, ‘Do you know what that means,’ and he said, ‘They’re going to give me a ride to school?'” Seals said.  “I was like, ‘No, you’re getting a ride to college. He said, ‘Wait a minute, I don’t have to pay for college. Then it started hitting him.” 

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Jones’ transportation challenge is unfortunately one that many students in the region encounter. “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 tells KAKE. She hopes that Jones will be an inspiration for other students facing similar difficulties. 


Jones and his sisters had the chance to privately tour the university campus, where he will hopefully be attending in just a few short years. He dreams of being a NASCAR driver after he graduates from college. 

Collins Smith looks forward to Jones’ future as a Harris Stowe State University “hornet” and hopes that his story strikes a chord with others who need the motivation to pursue their goals. 

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


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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.