White High Schooler Returns Scholarship Intended for African-American Student

"It was the right thing to do," said student Jeffrey Warren, after returning a $1,000 check to the Martin Luther King Senior Citizens Club.

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What do you do when you receive a scholarship that was meant for students of another race?

A white high school graduate in Riverside, Calif. returned his scholarship after realizing that it was meant for an African-American student.

Jeffrey Warren, 17, received a $1,000 scholarship sponsored by the Martin Luther King Senior Citizens Club but returned it the day after the award ceremony. “I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Warren of his decision to return the scholarship.

Etta Brown, the chairwoman of the club’s scholarships committee, said she and other club members were surprised when they found out at the award ceremony that one of the scholarship winners was a white student. Brown explained that the member who interviewed Warren on the phone had no idea that the applicant was white.

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The application for the scholarship only stated that African-Americans were ‘encouraged’ to apply. Only separate cover letters sent to high school counselors explicitly stated that the scholarship was intended for black students; Warren reportedly never saw the cover letter and applied for the scholarship, which has never been awarded to a non-black student since it was created in 2005.

Rod Warren, Jeffrey’s father, told the Press-Enterprise that Jeffrey applied for nearly 30 scholarships and won three other scholarships worth a total of $4,500. Jeffrey plans to attend San Diego State University next year to double major in English and business. The scholarship he returned was awarded to an African-American student who will attend Cornell University this fall, reported ABC News.

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