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Missouri Teen Donates His College Savings After Receiving $43,000 Scholarship: ‘He Just Has a Heart for People’

A Missouri teen is paying it forward in a major way before heading off to college. 

At St. Charles West High School, senior Joshua Nelson is known for being a leader, a scholar and varsity athlete, and for his compassion.

“He just has a heart for people,” said school counselor Yolanda Curry to KSDK-TV. When Nelson was named as a recipient of the Southeast Missouri State University President Scholarship, worth $43,000 over four years, he proved just how big his heart once more. Nelson chose to use his savings of more than $1,000 to help a peer pursue their college education.

St. Charles West High School senior Joshua Nelson (Photo: KSDK-TV)

The National Honor Society member had been saving the funds to help him bring his own collegiate dreams to fruition, but when he secured the prestigious scholarship he seized the opportunity to make a difference in the life of another.

“I really thought it was important to give back to my community that poured in so much to me,” said Nelson. “Honestly, it makes me feel on top of the world. The fact that I can just help somebody a little bit makes me feel great and I really want to see other people succeed.”

As for his collegiate ambitions, Nelson said, “I plan to go to Southeast Missouri State and go into their pre-optometry program. I’ll be majoring in bio-medical sciences.”

In the following weeks, Nelson, along with the help of his parents and teachers, will be accepting applications to help him determine the lucky recipient of his scholarship. With his community aware of the gracious act, he hopes donations will pour in to provide greater assistance to the recipient. 

Classmate Harmony Hudson says Nelson is an inspiration to peers. “I don’t even think he realizes that he’s doing that much for everyone else as well,” she said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by social media users, even from people who share no acquaintance with the scholar.

“Wow. That is unheard of. The world needs more ppl like this young man.”

“What a wonderful young man!!! I wish other teens would be as thoughtful and caring as he is! ❤️❤️😀😀”

“Love to see GREAT people pay it forward!”

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