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High school senior donates college savings after being awarded a full scholarship


‘I wanted to give back’: High school senior donates his college savings to another student in need after being awarded a full-ride scholarship to Southeast Missouri State University

  • Joshua Nelson, 18, a student at St. Charles West High School in Missouri, was awarded the Southeast Missouri State University President Scholarship 
  • As long as Nelson meets the scholarship renewal criteria, he will receive $7,000 to cover tuition and fees and $3,000 for residence hall fees each year of college
  • The award is valued at approximately $43,000 over four years 
  • After receiving the award, he decided to use the $1,000 he saved for college to start The Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship at his high school 
  • Nelson said the scholarship aims to help multicultural students who are showing leadership and community service
  • The teen, who will begin his undergraduate studies this fall, hopes that local businesses will match his donation and make it an annual scholarship

A high school senior has donated his college savings to another student after landing a prestigious scholarship that will cover his tuition and boarding for four years.  

Joshua Nelson, 18, a student at St. Charles West High School in Missouri, was awarded the Southeast Missouri State University President Scholarship, which is valued at approximately $43,000.  

As long as Nelson meets the scholarship renewal criteria, he will receive $7,000 to cover tuition and fees and $3,000 for residence hall fees each year of college. 

Giving back: Joshua Nelson, 18, a senior at St. Charles West High School in Missouri, has donated the $1,000 he saved for college to another student after being awarded a scholarship

Wow: Nelson was awarded the Southeast Missouri State University President Scholarship, which is valued at approximately $43,000. It will cover his tuition and boarding over four years

Wow: Nelson was awarded the Southeast Missouri State University President Scholarship, which is valued at approximately $43,000. It will cover his tuition and boarding over four years

The senior is one of only five students to receive the full-ride scholarship this year, according to the City of St Charles School District. A total of 288 people applied and only 100 applicants made it to the interview round.    

After receiving the award, he decided to use the $1,000 he saved for college to start The Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship at his high school.

Nelson told We Love St. Charles, a local non-profit community outreach organization, that the scholarship aims ‘to help multicultural students who are showing leadership, who are showing community service, and just have great qualities in and out of the classroom.’  

‘I feel like it’s really important to be involved in your community and leaving a legacy,’ he explained. ‘I wanted to give back to my community by creating this scholarship fund, and hopefully, by me leaving this legacy, it encourages other students to leave a legacy as well.’ 

Incredible: After receiving the award, he decided to use the $1,000 he saved for college to start The Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship at his high school

Incredible: After receiving the award, he decided to use the $1,000 he saved for college to start The Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship at his high school

Goal: Nelson said the scholarship aims to help multicultural students who are showing leadership and community service

Goal: Nelson said the scholarship aims to help multicultural students who are showing leadership and community service

Goal: The teen, who will begin his undergraduate studies this fall, hopes that local businesses will match his donation and make it an annual scholarship

Goal: The teen, who will begin his undergraduate studies this fall, hopes that local businesses will match his donation and make it an annual scholarship

Nelson the president of his school’s Minority Achievement Committee (MAC), which aims to ‘encourage historically underrepresented students within the district to maximize their academic potential and become college and career ready.’

His scholarship fund is being managed through the MAC program, and donors can give online via the school’s website

Nelson hopes that local businesses will match his donation and make it an annual scholarship for students in the community. 

‘I think he’s an inspiration to some of the other people at the school especially students of color,’ his classmate Harmony Hudson told KSDK. ‘I don’t even think he realizes that he’s doing that much for everyone else as well.’ 

Among his many accomplishments, he is a member of the varsity basketball team, the National Honor Society, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Black Student Union. He also volunteers for the Refuge and Restoration Mobile Food Market and tutors children at the Boys and Girls Club of St. Charles County.

Nelson will enroll in Southeast Missouri’s biomedical sciences program when she starts his undergraduate studies this fall with the plan of pursuing a career in optometry in the future.   

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