PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – On Wednesday, 10 On Your Side introduced you to a Portsmouth high school student with big aspirations.
AsiaMonea Hawkins wanted to be an engineer and recently got nominated for an invite-only engineering program, but the price tag was steep.
Not long after the story aired, the community raised more than $8,000.
The Mount Church also saw the story and surprised her with a gift of their own.
“I first learned about it scrolling on social media, saw your story and connected to the story,” said Kim Brown, pastor of The Mount Chesapeake.
Brown said his village helped him reach his dream job and he wanted to do the same for AsiaMonea.
“To see a young person’s eye light up as hers did,” he said.
Brown got in contact with her mom and told her he could help.
In front of hundreds of I.C. Norcom High School students, AsiaMonea got a $2,000 check.
“I just can’t believe it, to be honest,” she said.
AsiamOnea is marking her calendar for this summer. She will be going to Georgia Tech for the National Youth Leadership Forum, or NYLF.
It wouldn’t be without her science, technology, engineering and math teacher’s nomination.
“This one in particular, I thought would be a great experience for her,” said Heather Overkamp, I.C. Norcom High School STEM Teacher.
AsiaMonea hopes the program will grow her love for engineering and teach her a few new things.
Her mom is also excited. She credits WAVY viewers and our story for getting AsiaMonea to NYLF.
“These are the things of course, we need to know what is going on, but these are things people want to see,” said Breona Merrell, AsiaMonea’s mom. “I am grateful. I am grateful to WAVY for doing the story.”
AsiaMonea said this has shown her that she – with the help of her village – can truly do anything. Her mom said the money raised might also allow her to go next year.
“Seeing how much people are supporting me,” AsiaMonea said, “really shows I need to stick with this, and I can really get there.”