17-year-old Jeffrey Warren was recently awarded a $1,000 college scholarship from the Martin Luther King Senior Citizens Club in Riverside, California.
So far so good, except for one small hitch: Warren is white, and the scholarship is reserved for black students.
It seems the scholarship's online application doesn't expressly preclude non-African-Americans from applying, and the school never informed Warren he was ineligible.
"We just couldn't believe it at the outset," the scholarship committee chairwoman Etta Brown said, recalling the sight of Warren sauntering up to the stage at the Martin Luther King High School gym to receive his award.
"People were surprised. Laughter started to come up from crowd," Warren said, noting that he was congratulated and allowed to keep the money.
But after thinking it over with his parents, Warren decided to give the money back. "They were very nice about it," Warren told MSNBC.com. "They thanked me for being generous and for being a great kid."
Before you go feeling bad for Warren, you should know that he won three other scholarships in addition to the one he gave up. And, according to his dad, many people have been contacting the school to ask "where they could send a check to make a donation to Jeffrey." The school even pitched in, collecting $351 in cash from staff members.
The MLK seniors club promised to revise the application to clarify eligibility requirements.
[screengrab via KABC]