Bullard High Valedictorian Heads to College

August 6, 2008 10:33:03 PM PDT
Just two months ago Arthur Mkoyan was days away from deportation ? Today he's getting ready to head off to college.A stranger has stepped forward to help the Bullard High School Graduate pay for four years at UC Davis. Arthur Mkoyan, Fresno resident: "At first I didn't really believe it I thought it was one of those jokes or something."

But it was no joke. A northern California woman Arthur Mkoyan had never met ... Is making his dream of going to UC Davis a reality.

Arthur Mkoyan: "This is probably the nicest thing anybody has ever done for me."

Just days before Arthur and his family were to be deported back to Armenia-- Senator Diane Feinstein introduced a bill that allows the family to stay until their immigration status is resolved. But Arthur a 4.0 student at Bullard High-- would not be eligible for financial aid.

Sherry Heacox: "It just seemed like an injustice. I thought about it for a couple of days and suddenly it was --do something about it if you're unhappy about it."

Sherry Heacox lives in northern California. She read about the Mkoyan's plight in the newspaper ... And contacted Arthur's mom.

Sherry Heacox: "I think the first words out of her mouth were 'Oh my God' and I think there was some crying immediately."

Arthur's father Reuben says he can't find the words to say thank you to Heacox ... But he still worries about his family's future in the U.S.

Reuben Mkoian, Arthur's Father: "Some people say like okay-- you're done. But it's not okay-- we have to wait, nobody knows what will happen next."

For now Arthur looks forward to visiting the UC campus for the first time this weekend.

Arthur Mkoyan: "I'm feeling excited--I get to move out and start a new life and I get to continue my education at the school I wanted to go to."

Heacox's own daughter just graduated from UC Santa Barbara. Now, she'll begin to pay for Arthur's education. Tuition alone is 25-thousand dollars a year. Heacox says she has only one stipulation-- quitting is not an option. And she has one small request ?

Sherry Heacox: "Maybe 4 years down the road I'll get a graduation invitation ... and be standing at Davis watching as he strolls across the stage into a new life."

Sherry says she and her husband are not wealthy by any means, but feel fortunate to be able to help. She'll join Arthur and his parents this weekend for orientation at UC Davis.

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