Teen who walked 6 miles to his own graduation given incredible gift by NFL player and others

“If you want something done, you got to go ahead and do it yourself,” Xavier Jones said.

Xavier Jones is 14 years old.
The 8th grader hails from North St. Louis, Missouri. He and his six siblings live with their grandfather, where they have resided since their mother died a few years back.


Needless to say, life hasn’t been easy.
And yet, Xavier has pushed on and persevered through every challenge thrown his way, and this year he graduated from Yeatman Middle School.

What an accomplishment!

The ceremony was set to take place at Harris-Stowe State University in midtown St. Louis.

That’s about 6.5 miles away from his home.

That’s where the problem starts.
Xavier’s grandfather has a car but it had died. There was no alternative transportation available at that time as well.


Xavier could only do the one thing he could think of that was possible. He walked for two and a half hours to the graduation ceremony venue.

“He did what he had to do,” his mentor, Darren Seals, said. “The shoes that he walked in had holes in the bottom, holes in the top. Two-and-a-half-hours walk. A long road, I wouldn’t have walked it.”

He used the online map to learn the route and find a way that would make his goal achievable and walkable.

Plus he asked his brother and a friend to join him on his literal graduation journey.

They were glad to join Xavier.

“I wanted to walk across the stage,” Xavier shared. “If you want something done, you gotta go ahead and do it yourself.”


Harris-Stowe President Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith found out about Xavier’s walk to his graduation.

She surprised him with a wonderful graduation gift: a four-year scholarship presented to him during the ceremony.

Xavier was ecstatic!
“I just led with my heart, and I followed my heart, and my heart said this is a kid that needs a scholarship,” President Collins-Smith explained. “Many of our students come with a story, and many of our students come with environmental barriers they have overcome or are currently overcoming.”

President Collins-Smith wasn’t the only person touched by Xavier’s actions.

NFL Miami Dolphins star Terron Armstead heard Xavier’s story.

He also wanted to give back.
“We hear a story like Xavier. It’s only right,” Terron Armstead said. “Follow Xavier’s example. He’s a leader whether he wants to be or not. His story is inspiring. It’s motivating. That’s what leaders do.”


During a celebrity basketball game in St. Louis, Armstead presented Xavier Jones and his family with gifts they won’t forget.

They gave Xavier’s family a $40,000 minivan.
With the help of Bommarito Automotive, his grandfather and the entire family can now get around.

Plus the NFL players also gave Xavier a $5,000 Ryan Pritchard Electric Bike that he can use as a transportation alternative.

“This means a whole lot,” Xavier’s grandfather, who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, responded.

It was a decision that Xavier had to make that day.
For many, it became a story of inspiration.

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

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