A North Carolina barbershop owner has raised enough money to erase the debts of more than a dozen high school seniors who risked not graduating if they didn't pay them off, the AP reports. Season Bennett learned 14 seniors at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte wouldn't get their diplomas with the rest of their class if the overdue school fees weren't paid. So Bennett asked the community for help eliminating the $4,500 debt. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools prohibits students from graduating if the overdue fees go unpaid. Between donations from the public and help from former Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, Bennett raised the money.
Bennett says she was inspired by billionaire technology investor Robert F. Smith, who announced he'd pay off the student loans for graduating seniors at Morehouse College. She tells WBTV that some of the fees related to the school's band program. "I know some people were thinking ‘Oh, maybe there was damaged property,’ or these kinds of things, and I said, 'These kids are doing something good, they’re on the band, they’re having school spirit.'" She says that when Davis' daughter told him about the fundraising, he said, 'You know what, whatever need you have left over, we’re going to make sure these students graduate.'" One girl, she says, "fell to her knees" after finding out she no longer had to worry about graduating.
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