Kevonna Stevens graduated as valedictorian of her class and became the first of her family to head to college, thanks in part to teacher Jason Boll, who helped her apply. Now Boll is stepping up for Stevens again, in an even bigger way. The 18-year-old told the Pittsburgh teacher in October that while she was getting good grades, she might not be able to afford to stay in college at Philadelphia's Temple University, Boll's alma mater. With Stevens' OK, Boll started a GoFundMe campaign that passed its $7,500 fundraising goal in just about a week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Boll closed the fundraiser when $8,500 had been raised, since that covers what Stevens needs for the rest of the school year, but he encourages backers to share any scholarships or other financial assistance they knew of for students.
Stevens lived in Las Vegas, North Carolina, and New York before arriving in Pittsburgh her freshman year of high school; she moved multiple times even once she'd settled there, including when her father moved across the country after her parents split up, and then after the family home burned down. None of this seemed to faze her, Boll wrote on the GoFundMe page. She got a job to pay for bus fare, and "she would get on a bus for an hour each day, traverse the city in time to arrive at [school] by 7:11 for first period. She kept smiling, kept being a good friend to her classmates, and kept getting good grades," Boll tells the Post-Gazette. When he heard about her financial troubles, he says, "I thought, there's no way that this is the end of the story." Most of Stevens' college costs are covered with grants, student loans, and scholarships, but a housing mix-up led to the financial issue.