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Posted under: News Culture

This Missouri Teen Received A Scholarship So He Used His College Savings To Create A Tuition Fund For Peers

Talk about paying it forward.

A teenager in Missouri donated his college savings and is teaching us all how to do the right thing.

Eighteen-year-old Joshua Nelson had saved $1,000 to go towards his college expenses, but as he prepared for higher learning, he received a scholarship. 

Nelson was granted a prestigious President’s Scholarship in the amount of $43,000 from Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) where he plans to go into their pre-optometry program as a biomedical sciences major. According to SEMO’s website, only five students who represent the top percentile of applicants are awarded the Presidential Scholarship annually. 

Since his college costs were covered, Nelson decided to use his savings to create a new fund to help pay for another student’s college tuition.

“So, I started a scholarship fund called the Joshua Nelson Leaders In Action Scholarship, and basically it's a fund to help multicultural students who are showing leadership, who are showing community service and just have great qualities in and outside of the classroom,” Nelson told We Love St. Charles in an interview. 




“I feel like it’s important being involved in community and leaving a legacy, I’m huge on that, and also, me being a man of God, I feel like it’s huge being a cheerful giver, so, I wanted to give back to my community by creating this scholarship fund, and hopefully by me leaving this legacy it will encourage other students to leave a legacy as well,” he added.

Nelson’s classmates were pleasantly surprised at his announcement and were excited to see him inspiring others. 

"I think he's an inspiration to some of the other people at the school especially students of color," Harmony Hudson, one of Nelson’s classmates, said. "I don't even think he realizes that he's doing that much for everyone else as well." 

Aside from excelling in compassion, Nelson is also on the varsity basketball team as well as president of his school’s Multicultural Achievement Committee, which helps students of color focus on resume writing, college test preparation and interview techniques. 

"The mission of it is to encourage students of color to maximize their potential and to become college and career ready," Curry said.

Nelson shared that he wanted to continue encouraging multicultural students by giving back to the community that “poured so much” into him.

“He just has a heart for people," Curry said. 

The senior high school student is asking donors to contribute towards his new endowment fund with the hopes that the $1,000 starting pool will expand to a number much greater. He also plans to continue to fund the scholarship throughout college and beyond. 

"Honestly, it makes me feel on top of the world,” Nelson shared. “The fact that I can just help somebody a little bit makes me feel great and I really want to see other people succeed."

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Sìmone Stancil is a Blavity News Writer, actress, and travel enthusiast. Connect with Simone today!