Correction: A previous version of this story stated that TaeVon participates in his school's IB program. He participates in his school's Ivy Plus Academy program. The error has been corrected. A previous version of this story also stated that TaeVon earned 11 full-ride scholarships. TaeVon earned three full-ride scholarships. That error has also been corrected. (Feb. 25, 2021)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky teen is looking at $1 million in college scholarships.
18-year-old TaeVon Gibbs, who's a senior at Fern Creek High School, was accepted at all 11 schools to which he applied, with several offering to pay for his education.
"I see all my hard work paying off," said Gibbs.
The aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter didn’t want to limit his options, so he applied for as many scholarships as he could find.
"Scholarships are important because I don’t want to go into debt, and they set you back for a long time, and I wasn’t trying to do that," explained Gibbs.
He says he was overwhelmed when the offers started rolling in.
"When I started applying, I was like, 'I probably won’t get that one, I probably won’t get that one.' I will probably have these list of schools to choose from, but then all of them accepted me," said the future college student.
He wound up with a total of three full-ride scholarships and more than $1 million in scholarship money on the table. There's no doubt he has a lot to be excited about.
"My momma always told me that was going to be my way out like academics, going hard in school, that was going to be my way, 'cause I always told her I was going to be rich and buy her a Range Rover," added Gibbs.
The honor student with a 3.6 GPA was honored recently for being awarded the Benjamin Templeton Scholarship. He applied and stood out among the other applicants for his academic success and passion to promote diversity and social justice.
"It makes you more aware of how people just have it different from you. Some people have it better, some people may have it worse, but the more diverse and inclusive things are, you’ll be able to learn more about people," said Gibbs.
He credits a newly introduced Ivy Plus Academy program at his school that promotes access to higher education by helping him and other students alike plan, apply, and pay for college.
"If I weren’t in Ivy Plus, I wouldn’t have known about these scholarships, and I wouldn’t have known to start applying so early and to make sure I get the right deadlines. To be real, they don’t teach that in other programs and schools," he said.
Gibbs's family is proud.
Shavonda Alexander, Gibbs's mother tells Spectrum News 1, "Everybody is telling me, 'kudos to you mom,' no not kudos to me, kudos to him. Like he’s doing all of this. I’m just sitting back and just make sure I steer him in the right direction. It was all him. He has made it easy for me to be his mom over these 18 years."
"I’m proud of the daily process of not only just the scholarships but everything he’s doing and becoming his own man as far as a young man," says Shawntae Gibbs, TaeVon's father.
Wesley Alexander Sr., Taevon’s stepdad says, "Watching him grow up and develop to be the young man that he is now. One thing I’ve always told him is always be who you are. I preach that to him all the time. I think that he’s took that and run with that as well."
The soon-to-be college student has this advice for other high school students searching for scholarships.
"You have to start early like freshman year. You have to take the most hardest classes. At the time it sucks, but it pays off at the end because it pushes a narrative of like you want to learn and that helps in the long run," suggested Gibbs.
Gibbs says his top two choices are narrowed down to Hanover College in Indiana and Wofford College in South Carolina.