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Jim Hill High School valedictorian awarded $1.5 million in scholarships

Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 8:46 PM EDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One inner-city Jackson high school is celebrating the successes of their graduating seniors who earned more than $10 million dollars in scholarships.

For one outstanding senior, offers from schools across the country total more than a million dollars.

“Jim Hill prepared me not only for college, but for life,” said Xavian Branch.

That preparation has led him to $1.5 million dollars in scholarship offers from 20 colleges. The class valedictorian earned a 4.8 GPA in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program.

“I have accomplished everything that I would say I would have wanted to accomplish in high school, and in the future, when I look back at all the work that I did, I wouldn’t regret anything,” Xavian recalled.

The scholarships range from JSU and Ole Miss to West Point, Vanderbilt and Carnegie Mellon University. His mother, Zandra Branch, knew in kindergarten that he would be an exceptional student.

“I just can’t say enough about my baby,” said the proud mother. “I want him to make all the contributions in the world. Keep God first in his life and foremost and whatever he decided to do will prevail for him.”

At the start of the semester, Xavian began filling out college applications with a goal that he’s seen come to fruition.

“When he sent his paper back to me he stated that, ‘I’m going to be the Million Dollar Baby this year’,” said Jim Hill Academic Adviser Major Frank J. Branch.

Seniors in the Class of 2021 were awarded $13 million dollars in scholarships. In the past five years, Major Branch has worked to secure $70 million dollars in scholarships.

“I saw that we were not getting any money for the colleges, and I knew that money was out there,” said Frank Branch. “I made it my goal to help them get into college”.

Xavian has selected Mississippi College, but has not yet chosen a major.

“No matter where you come from or what others tell you, you can do whatever you believe,” added Xavian.

The 18-year-old will deliver his valedictorian speech to the Jim Hill graduating class June 1.

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