NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark – With inflation affecting many Arkansas families, a viral Facebook post allowed local high school students to have a college experience free of charge.  

For North Little Rock High School junior Drevian Dodson, basketball is life. He says the dream of playing at a university feels like it could be possible after going on a trip to Grambling State University for ‘high school day.’

“It motivates me every day because I still want to play basketball for a college one day and Grambling is one of the places I would be grateful and blessed to get an offer from,” Dodson said. 

Dodson is just one of 90 Arkansan students who were able to go to the one-day event after Dustin Barnes who is a member of Central Arkansas Grambling University National Alumni Association posted about the importance of the event and asking for donations for students to attend for free. 

“We know that a high school diploma is not it anymore, you have to do more,” Barnes said.

Barnes says support from the community and out of state came in fast with people making donations that allowed students from all over Arkansas to attend. 

“We were able to raise a little over $8400 in a matter of 4 to 5 days,” Barnes stated. “We know inflation is hurting everybody. I know that this was a blessing for so many of our families in Central Arkansas.”

Dodson says going on the trip was a big moment in his life. 

“That was my first time ever being on a college campus. They did a lot of things that were cultural, and it definitely felt like home,” Dodson said. 

Dodson says he was grateful the trip was free and that it gave him insight into his future he might not have seen this early. 

“You know usually you might have to pay but I didn’t have to pay and that felt pretty good that people want to see me succeed in life,” Dodson said. 

Sophomore at NLRHS Evin Lawson believes it helped her think about college and her career.

“It’s shown me all the opportunities I have if I keep my grades up and if I just keep being the person that I am now ,” Lawson said. 

As for Dodson, he says the trip will always hold a special place in his life. 

“It’s a day that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Dodson admitted. 

Barnes says they’re hoping to have the trip next year so more Arkansan students can start thinking about the future without worrying about finances.