Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

High school teacher launches fundraiser to help former student stay in college

It wasn't the update Jason Boll wanted to hear from his former student: Kevonna Stevens, 18, was doing great at Temple University, but she was unable to pay for housing and preparing to drop out.

Boll was Stevens' teacher at Pittsburgh Perry High School, and he knew about all of the hardships she went through while a student — her parents split up, her house burned down in the middle of junior year, and after moving to a new neighborhood, she had to take the bus an hour each way to and from school. To pay for her bus fare, Stevens, the first person in her family to go to college, worked at a Burger King. Through it all, she kept up a positive attitude and got good grades, Boll said.

Last month, Stevens told Boll she had loans, grants, and scholarships to cover her tuition, but didn't realize it wasn't enough to also pay for housing, and she couldn't register for spring classes until her bill was paid. "I thought, there's no way that this is the end of the story," he told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "She really is an amazing person who has worked really hard and deserves some breaks." He launched a GoFundMe, which has raised $8,500, more than its goal of $7,500, and the extra money will go toward next year's housing. Stevens told the Post-Gazette she feels "very grateful and blessed" for all of the support.