TARRANT, Ala. — Graduation day comes with a sense of having “made it,” but for Tarrant High School’s Corey Patrick, it required going a little more than the extra mile. The Alabama teen headed off to his graduation ceremony with the same determination with which he finished his senior year — and a stranger’s photo of it went viral.
Patrick’s been getting up as early as 4 a.m. every day for the past year to travel 14 miles to school, according to CBS affiliate WIAT. He moved to his mother’s house in the West End area of Birmingham but needed to finish what he started: graduating with his peers at Tarrant High School.
“Every morning Corey would get up and catch the MAX transit bus,” said Felicia White, Patrick’s mother.
It was the MAX transit bus driver picking him up that ultimately snapped the photo of Patrick making his long commute for the last and most satisfying time.
“I didn’t do it because I knew him,” driver DeJuanna Beasley told the station. “I just did it because he got on my bus and I was inspired that he got on by himself and he was so determined to get it with no one backing him.”
Patrick won’t have to worry about not having a ride much longer — in more than one sense of the word.
After the inspiring photo got tens of thousands of shares, 95.7 JAMZ morning show host Rickey Smiley reached out to the determined youth. On Smiley’s show Thursday morning, Patrick shared that he has been offered a full scholarship to Jacksonville University. What’s more, Smiley gifted Patrick a car on Friday.
Corey Patrick doesn’t have his driver’s license yet, but he plans to take the test this summer so he can drive his new set of wheels pic.twitter.com/VbWJBZLoWg— Marlei Martinez (@MarleiWVTM13) May 25, 2018