Putnam City teen gets full-ride scholarship to Stanford University

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) - For the past 11 years, Shawnda Pennington has driven the same route for Putnam City Public Schools.

“I drive almost 85 miles per day on this bus,” Pennington said.

During her time behind the wheel, she has watched entire families grow.

“Sometimes, we do knuckle bumps, high fives," Pennington said.

Her own son, Cameron, is graduating this year.

"He normally sits right behind me," she said.

Cameron Pennington recently found out he was accepted at Stanford University on a QuestBridge Scholarship. It's a full-ride scholarship given to a select group of top performing, low-income students.

Around 1,100 students received it this year.

"He said 'Miss Miller, do you realize only one in 16 finalists get one?' And I go, 'But there has to be one and you're that one. You're that impressive,'" Angela Miller, counselor at Putnam City West, said.

This valedictorian is interested in studying public policy for education after being  inspired, he says, by the teacher walkout.

"I want to be an advocate for students in education. Obviously, that's been a big deal in Oklahoma for the last couple of years,” Cameron said.

He's served as a page for the state legislature, who was also impressed by his work ethic.

"Every time an opportunity has presented, he has put fear aside and personal conviction have taken the forefront," Rep. Tammy West, House District 84, said.

No one is prouder of him than his mother.

"She's definitely been the driving force behind a lot of the focus on school. She always was there for me when things were stressful,” Cameron Pennington said.

"My emotions do not show how proud I am of Cameron. This is a big surprise. I'm going to miss him a lot. It's going to make me cry," Shawnda Pennington said.

Putnam City Schools is always looking for bus drivers. For more information, visit the school's website.

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