Mark Robertson

Mark Robertson

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8th grader walks 6.5 miles to attend his graduation--but it pays off.

A St Louis teenager may very well be the living example of the word determination.

Xavier Jones, 14, wanted to attend a special ceremony at the end of the school year. But the ceremony for Yeatman Middle School was taking place far from his home in north St. Louis, and he had no transportation at the time.

“My grandpa, his car died,” he explained.

So, Jones decided to set out on foot to get there.

“He did what he had to do,” Jones’ mentor Darren Seals said.

Jones walked from his neighborhood all the way to Harris-Stowe State University in midtown St. Louis. The distance was 6.5 miles.

“(I was) glad I made it there 'cause I didn’t have to walk anymore,” Jones said.

Seals mentors Jones at his Sankofa community center on Emma Street. Seals calls it a safe haven, a place where he tries to help kids make the most of their lives.

“Change the norm, that’s what I tell the kids. Change the norm. No matter if you live a nightmare, never give up,” he said.

He helps Jones understand how being determined is key to making his dream a reality.

“When God gives you a vision in your sleep, you wake up like I can’t do that. No, you can do it 'cause he gave it to you,” Seals said

Harris-Stowe President Dr. LaTonia Collins Smith learned of Jones’ trek to graduation and decided to help Jones make his dreams come true. She presented him with a four-year scholarship during the ceremony.

“I don’t cry," Seals said. "When they were talking about it, I was actually crying."

His journey had gained the attention of a university, but that wasn’t the only way his hard work and dedication were noticed. Check this out...

Shot Of Graduation Hats During Commencement Success Graduates Of The University,

Photo: Getty Images

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