Latron Fleet, a graduate of KIPP Baltimore has been awarded a $10,000-per-year scholarship to help pay for his education at Morehouse College. The scholarship was made possible through a $600,000 United Negro College Fund (UNCF) scholarship program launched in partnership with Kevin Hart’s Help From The Hart Charity and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Public Schools.
The $600,000 scholarship program will provide funding to support KIPP students from eight different cities who are attending 11 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Latron and the other students attended a scholarship program in Los Angeles, California, on Monday, August 6, 2018. During the program, they were presented with their scholarships by none other than actor and comedian Kevin Hart himself.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Latron. “I have always been a fan of Kevin Hart. When he walked in, we were all shocked and overjoyed. It was a surprise, because no one told us he would be there. I got to meet him for the first time.”
Hart made a $100,000 scholarship gift in 2015 through UNCF to four deserving college students. His latest donation is a continuation of his efforts to help students earn a college degree.
"Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs. This is just the beginning; trust me when I tell you there are a lot more kids who want to go to college who don’t have the money to make it happen.”
UNCF is the largest provider of college scholarships for students of color in the United States, awarding more than $100 million in college scholarships annually to deserving students. Latron and the other scholarship recipients were selected based on their academic and personal accomplishments. They may also receive substantive renewable awards based on need.
Latron is a 2018 graduate of St. Paul’s School, and will attend Morehouse College in the fall. He will receive $10,000 each of the four years he is at Morehouse.
“This scholarship eases the stress on my family”, he said. “I have a brother and two sisters under me. My brother is in high school and preparing for college himself. By the time he reaches college, my family would still be paying for both his education and mines. This scholarship eases that financial burden.”
KIPP is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. KIPP Baltimore is located at 4701 Greenspring Avenue in Baltimore.
“KIPP taught me great organizational skills,” said Latron. “KIPP also prepared me for the workload of any situation. That really helped me to move forward in life, because I struggled with organization.”
Latron highlighted the efforts of Nicole P. Yeftich, Senior Manager of College Support at KIPP Baltimore.
“Ms. Yeftich knew about a scholarship that was only for KIPP students, and wanted me to apply for it.” recalled Latron, who produces and writes music and aspires to be an entertainer or manager. “She really helped me through the process. I really appreciate all of her efforts.”
He added, “I am also grateful to Kevin Hart and UNCF. Anyone who gives scholarships to people in need is appreciated.”
Yeftich, who noted that KIPP actively supports their students throughout their high school and college years, agreed with Latron.
“One of the biggest challenges we see on our College Placement Team, is the gap funding that is crucial,” she said. “Latron is one among many students incredibly capable. Unfortunately, the gap that exists between the cost of attending college, and what federal, state and universities are able to give, is enormous and prohibitive.”
She added, “The generous philanthropists like Kevin Hart who step in to create opportunities like this one are game-changers.”