Hampton, VA -- Hampton High School student TyKhari Rawlings juggles a 3.7 GPA, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and church. Now the 17-year-old's years of hard work is being rewarded.
"Literally overnight my life changed," said Rawlings.
He learned in April that he beat out thousands of students across the country to win the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship. He now has a full ride to undergraduate and graduate school.
"Books, tuition. I can even use it for study abroad. I can use it for just about anything school related," he said.
Rawlings was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by his mentors Drs. Daryl and Jaryn Crosby of the group My Life My Legacy. The application process was grueling. He had to submit eight 1,000-word essays as part of his application. It took him four months to complete it.
Rawlings became emotional when speaking about the support and encouragement from his mother, who was a teenager when she had him.
"It gets hard sometimes, and I just wanted to make sure I could come to her and say mom this is what I did, and you don`t have to regret having me at a young age because you did a very good job ," Rawlings said with tears in his eyes.
"I`m not certain where I would be had it not been for my son," said his mother, Turquoise Rawlings-Perrin.
Rawlings hopes to become a doctor in the Air Force. He will begin his studies in August at Morehouse College in Atlanta.