Season Bennett and her husband are owners of Headlines Barbershop in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they found themselves particularly inspired after Billionaire investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith was the commencement speaker at Morehouse College- announced that he would be paying off the student debt of an entire class of college graduates.
Morehouse is an all men’s, historically Black private college in Atlanta, Georgia with the average student debt ranging in the multi-thousand-dollar range. A spokesperson for the school told 11Alive News that Smith’s donation would likely pay off about $40 million worth of debt between the graduating students.
“One girl dropped to her knees…”
14 East Mecklenburg High School seniors were in danger of not graduating, because of fees owed to the school.
— Amanda Foster WBTV (@AFosterWBTV) May 28, 2019
Bennett wanted to see what she could possibly do for her community. She called her nearest high school, East Mecklenburg High School, and learned that there were 14 high school seniors who had accumulated about $4,500 worth of debt altogether from buying school lunches or money owed to the band department.
On top of that, the high school does not allow students that owe money to graduate, receive their diplomas, or participate in the commencement ceremony.
Bennett started a GoFundMe campaign to pay for the student debt before their graduation deadline. It is currently at $3,170 of a $4,500 goal and is trending on the platform.
But Bennett’s campaign was seen by the daughter of NFL player Thomas Davis and she has promised to pay every cent of the debt. Now everything donated on GoFundMe will go to the high school’s anti-suicide program.
One of the students, when she heard her debt would be paid, fell to her knees in relief. Her mother was going to have to pull out a loan so that she could graduate, according to WBTV News.
East Mecklenburg High’s population is 79 percent minority and 58 percent are economically disadvantaged.