Jason Boll was never happier to help a student apply to college than he was to help Kevonna Stevens. She’d graduated at the top of her class at Perry High School in the spring, and she was applying to his alma mater, Temple University. Now, he’s trying to help her stay there. In October, Ms. Stevens who is the first in her family to attend college, texted him that she’d earned A’s and B’s. But when he told her how proud he was of her, she wrote back: “Thanks boll but I have some news. I might not be able to stay due to financial reasons.”
It left Mr. Boll scrambling for answers for a student who, at only 18, had a life marked by more than her share of hardships. With her blessing, he started a GoFundMe page that collected more than $6,000 for her schooling, nearing the $7,500 campaign goal in a little more than a week. As of late Tuesday, the campaign was only $1,425 short of its goal to pay for Ms. Stevens’ entire school year.
Mr. Boll was wary of being viewed as Ms. Stevens’ “white savior,” and he was quick to point out that other teachers have made similar gestures, including a Perry chemistry teacher he said helped a recent graduate struggling in college. Another Perry teacher, Derek Long, shared the fundraiser on Facebook, asking those wishing to gift him a birthday present to donate instead.
The outpouring has left Ms. Stevens herself feeling “very grateful and blessed.”