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LeBron James congratulates first college graduate from his I Promise School, who hopes to become a Secret Service agent

In World
June 04, 2024

It’s not often after graduating that you receive congratulations on social media from LeBron James.

The NBA star’s congratulatory message on Tuesday was for Anthony Claytor of Akron, Ohio, who graduated from Kent State University in May, becoming the first student from James’ I Promise School to earn a bachelor’s degree.


Claytor is a member of the inaugural class of the I Promise School, which opened in 2018, and is part of James’ efforts to offer education and opportunities to at-risk children and their families in Northeast Ohio.

In 2020, all 193 students in that inaugural class were given four years of free tuition to attend Kent State University, as well as one year of room and board fully paid for.

Claytor made the most of his opportunity, graduating early with a Bachelor of Arts in criminology and justice studies with a minor in sociology.

“If it wasn’t for the LeBron James Family Foundation, I don’t know if I would have gone to college,” Claytor said. “I don’t know where I would be.”

The 21-year-old Claytor added: “If I went … somewhere else, I wouldn’t have been able to live on campus and meet new people, develop relationships or join organizations. I really enjoy being able to do that at Kent State.”

Now he’s graduated, Claytor’s goal is to become a Secret Service agent.

“There was more help financially, specifically with tuition and books,” said Claytor of the difference the support he had been given had helped his educational experience.

“These programs also provided me access to different scholarships and internships. Overall, it made campus a lot easier to navigate,” he added.

The school, which is based in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio, provides students with a host of provisions to help them along, including free tuition, free uniforms, free meals, free transportation within two miles, a free bicycle and helmet and access to a food pantry for their family.

James smiles during a Los Angeles Lakers game against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2024. - Brandon Dill/AP

James smiles during a Los Angeles Lakers game against the Memphis Grizzlies in 2024. – Brandon Dill/AP

Also, parents of students receive access to job placement services and help acquiring their GEDs.

According to the I Promise website, the program has provided services to more than 1,300 students in the Akron area.

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