A barber shop owner in Charlotte, N.C., has raised enough money to pay overdue school fees, allowing 14 students the chance to earn their degree and graduate high school.
Season Bennett, co-owner of Headlines Barbershop was inspired by billionaire Robert F. Smith, who recently made a donation to eliminate student loans for Morehouse College’s class of 2019. Bennett decided to call the nearby East Mecklenburg High School to find out whether there were students who had unpaid fees and were therefore unable to graduate.
The school reported that there were 14 seniors with unpaid fees, which — per its policy — prevents them from graduating, as reported by WBTV.
While Bennett did not pay for the fees out of her own pocket, she raised the full outstanding amount — a total of $4,500 — by reaching out to the community.
The funds came a mix of donations from a GoFundMe that she organized and a donation. The GoFundMe raised around less than half of the required amount, which Bennett took to the school’s finance office. The remaining sum was contributed by Thomas Davis, football linebacker for the Los Angeles Chargers.
“Thomas Davis’ daughter saw it, and she told her dad about it,” Bennett told WBTV. “And he said, ‘You know what, whatever need you have left over, we’re going to make sure these students graduate.’”
In her GoFundMe, Bennett pointed out that the outstanding fees would “prevent them from being able to go to college because they would be unable to receive their final transcript until their balances have been paid in full.”
Bennett tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “I had the opportunity to meet a few of the graduating seniors who benefitted from the GoFundMe. One young lady had a great idea about paying it forward: She said each class should reach back and help the last graduating class so they don’t have to worry about not graduating.”
She didn’t question what the fees were for, and just wanted to pay it forward in her community.
“You know what, we don’t deserve a lot of the blessings we get, but we get them anyway,” Bennett said in a video interview with WBTV. “I don’t need to know what it’s for.”
With Davis’ donation and contributions on the GoFundMe, Bennett was able to inform the school that all 14 seniors will be able to graduate.
“The finance secretary had a blast calling in students to tell them their fees were canceled,” Bennett says. “They were in shock. Needless to say, I got a lot of hugs and tears!”
Yahoo Lifestyle reached out to East Mecklenburg High School representatives for comment and will update this post when we hear back.
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