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This is a story of a teenager who did something so generous — so big-hearted — that it’s making plenty of adults swoon. Allan Guei, 18, was a star basketball player at Compton High School in the Los Angeles area before he graduated last month. He also had a GPA above 3.0, and his good grades made him eligible for an unusual competition: A free-throw contest in the Compton High gymnasium. The top prize: $40,000 in scholarship money.
‘The right decision’ In the weeks following the March free-throw competition, Guei learned that he’d scored a full-ride basketball scholarship to California State University-Northridge. NCAA rules allowed Guei to accept the athletic scholarship and also keep most of the $40,000 he had won. But Guei couldn’t stop thinking about the seven talented runners-up from the free-throw contest. They, too, had dreams — and very real needs. So, he asked Principal Jesse Jones to make a surprise announcement at Compton High’s graduation ceremony: Guei wanted to donate the $40,000 to the other seven students.
“I’ve already been blessed so much and I know we're living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates,” Guei said in a statement. “It was the right decision.” Guei elaborated on his decision to give the money away in an interview with ESPN: “I was already well taken care of to go to school, to go to university for free. ... I felt like they needed it more than I did.” The beneficiaries of Guei’s generosity were ecstatic.
Lines that divide — and unite The free-throw competition was the idea of Court Crandall, the Hollywood screenwriter behind the movie “Old School” and a partner at a Southern California advertising firm. Crandall was well aware of Compton’s image problems due to gang-related crime. Many of the city’s residents also deal with extreme financial pressures; according to Census data, more than 25 percent of the city’s families live below the poverty line.
Crandall’s advertising firm, Wong, Doody, Crandall, Wiener, raised more than $75,000 for scholarships, making it possible to give $40,000 to the first-place winner and more than $5,000 — enough to cover about a year of college expenses — to each of the seven runners-up. Now, with Guei’s added generosity, each of those seven runners-up has around $11,000 in scholarship money.