Orlando student stunned after receiving $100K for college tuition from Beyonce, Jay-Z

Keshawn Morgan, a senior at Evans High School, had never been to a concert before. So he was thrilled Wednesday when his local Boys & Girls Club — where he’d been going since second grade — invited him to the Beyoncé and Jay-Z show that night.

When club leaders told him and the other teenagers who had been invited that they had V.I.P. seating, he was even more excited.

But when DJ Khaled, who opened the show at Camping World Stadium, told the audience he had a surprise $100,000 college scholarship to announce, the 17-year-old didn’t think much about it at all.

Until the performer began to describe the winner, saying he was ranked third in his class and was president of the Spanish honor society; then a puzzled Keshawn thought, “What? That’s me.”

“Oh my gosh,” a stunned Keshawn said in the video posted on Facebook by the Boys & Girls Cubs of America. “I can’t believe this. I want to be a lawyer. I can’t believe I won this.”

In a phone interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Thursday, he still sounded stunned.

“I really couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“I couldn’t even like put it in words,” Keshawn added. “It was crazy.”

He said it was crazy again when he got home and celebrated with his family, then again Thursday morning when his classmates in the International Baccalaureate program — designed for high-achieving, college-bound teenagers — cheered, clapped and hugged him.

“My classmates, I love them,” he said.

Keshawn, who is just starting college applications, said he has his sights on some elite schools, including Harvard University, and some well-known historically black colleges, such as Howard University and Morehouse College. Plenty of Florida schools are on his list, too.

And he’ll need scholarships to make attendance possible. “It’s like a big weight lifted off my shoulders,” he said of the scholarship. “ Not just my shoulders but my mom’s shoulders and my dad’s.”

Beyoncé and Jay-Z plan to award $100,000 to a high-school senior at each of the 11 cities where they perform during the On The Run II tour. They will grant scholarships to students in: San Diego; Los Angeles; Santa Clara, Calif.; Atlanta; Miami; Arlington, Texas; New Orleans; Houston; Phoenix; and Seattle.

The scholarships go to students who have excelled academically in high school but do not have the financial means to afford college.

The Boys & Girls Club of America selects the winners.

Keshawn said he’s been a regular at the center off Pine Hills Road for years — now most often as a volunteer to help younger kids — but still seeing the counselor there for advice and help in the college application process.

At Evans, he is a top student, president of the theater society and a member of the UNICEF Club and Poetry Club.

Teachers in Evan’s I.B. program, he added, have helped him to blossom academically and to grow from a quiet, unsure ninth grader into a confident senior who tries to “uplift the people around me.”

On Thursday, he said he was grateful for everyone at school, at home and in his community who had helped him — and was still stunned at what happened when he made what he thought was a very regular stop at the Boys & Girls Club:

“It turned out to be so much more.”

Orlando Sentinel
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