Nearly one year ago, Barien White was a member of Christiana High’s track team. Not necessarily a stand out athlete, the young man ran every meet like his future depended on it, because it did. White was traversing a path that many students in the past few years have, one that combined the joys of graduating high school with the pressures of the college and the real world vastly approaching.
Like many students before him, funds were not readily available for a secondary education, making any collegiate dream seem all but attainable. That is until a miracle, in the guise of Oprah Winfrey and Will.I.am, entered the picture.
Jaiquann Beckham, one of White’s friends and a fellow track team member, wrote a letter chronicling the story of a young man, his brother, and a duo of close friends who worked hard on the track but even more tirelessly to support their respective families. All were marquee students but none of them had the money to attend college. After reaching the hands of a producer at the Oprah show t was determined that something had to be done, and in true Oprah fashion, it was going to be done in a big way.
The brothers White as well as their compatriots found themselves whisked away to attend a show, believing that they were invited to speak on the effects of the recession on education, but soon found themselves the guests of honor. All were presented with full scholarships to the colleges of their choosing, with Barien choosing Hampton University, his brother attending Virginia Tech, Beckham picking Cabrini College, and friend Elijah Williams choosing to attend the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.