(This story originally aired and was published in February before the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic caused the Project GRAD Laptop Telethon to be moved to Wednesday, July 22.)
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Had it not been for the pandemic students who have met all requirements in the Project Grad Knoxville program would have been walking the stage at the Knoxville Convention Center in April, accepting $4,000 college scholarships.
Many are the first in their family to continue their education after high school.
Pandemic or not, it is WATE 6 On Your Side’s third year to make sure every Project Grad Scholar is equipped with a laptop – a critical tool for college.
We’re checking in with a bright young man who was overjoyed to get a laptop last year. We wanted to see how it continues to help him as he pursues his college degree.
Jatwan Forbes was a good student at Austin-East Magnet High School. He made a name for himself on the football team and the classroom.
Now, he’s working on his future at Pellissippi State Community College’s Division Street campus, where he’s majoring in business management.
You’ll often find Jatwan hurrying down the hallway to the library, where he makes good use of the laptop he received last year.
Memories of that moment are still fresh on his mind.
“When I found out I was getting a laptop to continue my future, I was; I’m overwhelmed with happiness,” he said. “I’m like, ‘oh wow, we’re actually getting a laptop and we can actually have something for us that we earned.’ “
Jatwan was among 125 Project Grad scholars from Austin-East and Fulton high schools who received a laptop after providing proof of enrollment in college or technical school.
Our laptop telethon here at WATE 6 On Your Side raised more than $43,000 thanks to so many of you.
Your continued support sends a strong message to students following Jatwan’s path to higher education.
“It really means a lot to have somebody believing in you and giving you a chance, and having the mindset of this person can do it,” he said.
This year’s Project Grad Laptop Telethon is from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 22.
There are more qualifying scholars this year. We need your help to raise funds so that everyone in this year’s class gets a laptop.
For more information on Project Grad Knoxville visit the program’s website, www.projectgradknoxville.org.
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