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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It was the surprise of a lifetime for one lucky senior at Booker T. Washington High School in Miami.
His college expenses have been paid for thanks to the generosity of a local organization.
Sixteen students applied for the Kiwanis Club of Biscayne Bay’s “Stanley G. Tate Scholarship” and Tuesday morning, they all waited anxiously in the school’s auditorium to find out if they had won the prize.
The winner was Ezekial Hobbs, chosen by a committee for his community involvement, student leadership, and excellent grades.
Emotions overcame Hobbs as the chairman of the scholarship committee presented the award.
The non-profit group gave him a fully paid college scholarship, valued at $30,000.
“Education has always been something I believe in,” Hobbs said after the awards ceremony. “It will take me places in life, so I always stuck to it, coming to school and doing what I have to do.”
Hobbs grew up in Overtown. He plans to use the lessons he learns in college to come back and help his community.
The Kiwanis Club is happy to make that happen.
“We’re so proud to tell you that you don’t have to worry about paying for that education,” Rick Freedman, the chair of the scholarship committee told Hobbs as he presented the check.
Freedman used the opportunity to remind all the students about the importance of an education.
He highlighted that 4 out of every 10 young black men who don’t finish their high school degree end up in jail during their 20’s and 30’s.
After getting his award, Hobbs revealed what keeps him going to beat the odds.
“Mainly it’s my grandmother,” he admitted. “She’s played a big part in my life.”
He also shared a message for his classmates and any students working to finish a degree.
“Never give up, never doubt yourself. Always keep going.”
Hobbs plans to use his new scholarship to attend Florida A & M university to study journalism.
He says his dream job is to become an investigative reporter and work for CNN.