Evans High Student-The Orlando Times
Jay-Z And Beyonce Give $100,000 To Deserving Orlando Student
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
ORLANDO - The arena was filled with fans shouting and screaming for Beyonce and Jay-Z. Keshawn Morgan, a local high school student, was seated in the V.I.P section as he and his friends eagerly awaited for the performance to begin. Little did he know, his life was about to be changed by an announcement that he would receive $100,000 to help pay for his college tuition.
A 17-year-old senior at Evans High School, Morgan had never been to a concert before so he was excited when his local Boys & Girls Club invited him to the Beyoncé and Jay-Z show that night.
The power couple was in town for a stop on their "On The Run (OTR) II" tour when their opening act, DJ Khaled, announced the scholarship winner after his performance.
"Orlando, we've got to surprise somebody with a $100,000 'On the Run II' scholarship," Khaled announced to the crowd. "Tonight, the person is in the building. He don't even know he 'bout to get a scholarship from Beyoncé and Jay-Z, so this is a surprise."
A video of the event shows when his name was announced. He and his friends erupted in cheers, they jumped up and down and hugged him.
“I was shocked because I’ve never had the chance to experience anything like this. I was so shocked and excited and in tears,” Morgan said. “My phone died during the concert so I couldn’t call my family. As soon as I got home my mom already knew and she was waiting for me and she ran to me and I ran to her and we hugged each other and cried. Then my brothers came, I called my dad, and my grandma.”
Through the BeyGOOD and the Shawn Carter Foundation, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are providing $100,000 scholarships to one high school senior with financial needs on their 11 U.S. OTR II tour stops. 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 Boys & Girls Club of America selects the winners. The national organization contacts the local organization in the city they were performing to choose a recipient.
“Keshawn’s academic background is very strong, he’s outgoing in the community, he’s been a long term club member. He’s an outstanding individual so when that call came in there were several club members to choose from but looking at Keshawn and knowing Keshawn we felt he would be the best candidate. ” said Jose Bastias Peer Service Director for the Walt Disney World Clubhouse of Central Florida, who has known Keshawn since he was eight years old. “We are excited for him, everyone is rooting for him!”
Keshawn has been a regular at the center in Pine Hills since he was in 2nd grade. He now volunteers alongside the art director and his love for giving back has moved him and his friends to create a non-profit organization to help inner-city youth called Men of Promise.
“I knew this year was going to be hard for me, applying to colleges, because I knew I needed money. The money had to come from somewhere to pay for college and my family doesn’t really have it to the point where they can pay for my full education. It’s just having this big weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Morgan. “I know there is still work to put in but it’s a blessing that this happened.”
He is a top student at Evans and holds various leadership positions on campus. He is a member of the National Honor Society, he is President of Spanish Honor Society, former-president of the Theater Society- he has earned lead roles and is currently working on a production at school- and more!
“I admire his perseverance. It's common to take the easy road, but he endures the weight of all his responsibilities and manages to fight through and overcome the obstacles placed before him,” said Shamoyia James, a guidance counselor at Evans. “Anyone who is willing to put in the work and has shown promise to be successful at the next level, should not have to worry about where the money is going to come from. I just wish him the best in all his future endeavors and look forward to seeing what the future holds for him!”
The Orlando native “hold[s] God close to [his] heart” and is the second oldest of eight children.
“Keshawn is a very hard worker, he stays focused on his education. He is always there for his brothers and sisters, Keshawn has always been a great son,” said his father, Kenrick Morgan. “He has a great future ahead of him, achieving this reward will help a lot as we continue to focus on the road ahead.”
Keshawn is interested in attending Howard University and Morehouse College, both are well-known Historical Black Institutions. He plans on pursuing a career in law.
“This means that my son will have more opportunities to achieve his goals and his education for the future. Without the scholarship his opportunities would be limited,” said his mother, Kendra McMillan. “I want to thank the most high God and also everyone that has helped Keshawn along the way.”
“Stay focused at all times. There may be moments when you want to just stop but when blessings like this happen they are unexpected. It’s the people around you that are going to help you. For me it’s my family, my friends, my teachers, my mentors, I would not be here without them,” said Morgan. “I just want to give the biggest thank-you to the boys and girls club and those who kept me focused and made me who I am.”