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High school senior Joshua Nelson isn’t just a student, but also a teacher. He has taught his fellow students and school staff an important lesson: giving back to the community. Mr. Nelson, who had been ready to pay for college by himself, donated his savings to help other students when he received a full ride college scholarship. 

Mr. Nelson plans to attend Southeast Missouri State, where he will study bio-medical sciences as a pre-optometry student. The St. Charles, Missouri, senior was surprised at the turn of events, which enabled him to help other students who needed a financial boost to attend college.

An example for others

Meanwhile, Mr. Nelson’s teachers and school counselor weren’t shocked by his achievements. On top of being an excellent student, he has played on his school’s varsity basketball team for three years running, and is president of the school’s Multi-Cultural Achievement Committee.

In a statement, Harmony Hudson said, “I think he’s an inspiration to some of the other people at the school, especially students of color.” She continued, “I don’t even think he realizes that he’s doing that much for everyone else as well.”

Mr. Nelson was one of only five students to receive a full scholarship to Southeast Missouri State University, through the school’s Presidential Scholarship. Earning the accolade allowed Mr. Nelson to donate the money he had saved up for college, which he has already turned into a scholarship opportunity for his fellow students at St. Charles high school. 

Giving back to his community

The Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship is already taking donations. Mr. Nelson hopes to partner with other organizations to provide even larger scholarships for more students. 

In a statement, Mr. Nelson told local newspaper KDSK, “I really thought it was important to give back to my community that poured in so much to me.” He continued, “Honestly, it makes me feel on top of the world. The fact that I can just help somebody a little bit makes me feel great and I really want to see other people succeed.”Donations are accepted at the Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...