Hastings High School teen hit by car receives full scholarship

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Hastings High School teenager who was hit by a driver while walking home from school is now heading to welding school on a full tuition scholarship.

Anthony Velazquez was crossing the street outside his school when police say a cafeteria worker sped through the school zone and hit him.

It happened in Oct. 2019. Velazquez suffered a traumatic brain injury, leaving him in the hospital for months.

His mother quit several jobs in order to be by her son's side and help him through many more months of physical therapy and rehab, where he had to re-learn how to walk.

SEE ALSO: Cafeteria worker who hit student with car can no longer drive without permission
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Police say 56-year-old Chinyere Iheagwam was driving a red Chevy near Hastings High School when she reportedly struck the student, who was identified as Anthony Velazquez.

Anthony's goal to return to the classroom was never fulfilled after in-person classes ended due to the pandemic.

But ABC13 was there as he walked in front of his peers and teachers for the first time in June to accept his high school diploma.

MORE: Alief ISD senior who was hit by cafeteria worker in crash graduates

Inspired by Anthony's grit, ABC13 viewer Randy Hartley donated $2,000 to Anthony and his family and challenged the public to raise another $1,000 on the family's GoFundMe account that hadn't received a donation in six months.

The challenge was met and exceeded. The public raised nearly $16,000 for Anthony.

Then Tulsa Welding School's Houston campus reached out, offering the teen a full tuition scholarship.

"It was a no-brainer for us. This is what we do," said Robert Pope, the campus president.

Anthony previously told ABC13 his dream after high school was to attend welding school and earn enough to move his family out of the low-income housing where he'd lived in his entire life.

"We actually saw the story on your news station. In that story it was inspirational altogether, but then the fact that he wanted to be a welder, he wanted to take care of his family," Pope said.

ABC13 was back at Hastings High School again for the moment Anthony met Robert Pope and the viewer who started it all, Randy Hartley.

"It just excites me very much to be able to meet him and present him with a check," said Hartley.

Hartley gave the family the additional $1,000 matching donation he promised after the public donated too.

Anthony will start classes at Tulsa Welding school in September. Until then, his physical therapy continues.

The video above is from a previous story.
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