Taco Bell surprises Wilmington student with scholarship [video]

 Taco Bell scholarship recipient Johnny Means receives the good news. (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Taco Bell scholarship recipient Johnny Means receives the good news. (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Wilmington student Johnny Means is one of just 100 nationwide to win scholarship money from the Taco Bell Foundation.

Means has made a name for himself over the past few years by teaching area youth how to master the game of chess. This year, all of his hard work and drive to make a community impact has paid off. Taco Bell awarded Means $10,000 from its Live Más Scholarship after reviewing more than 3,400 applications.

Every year the Live Más Scholarship sets aside $1 million to support young adults and help them pursue their educational goals, career aspirations, or innovative ideas. This year 100 people were selected to receive awards ranging from $5,000 to $25,000.

Means plans to use his scholarship at the University of Delaware where he’s looking to major in Management Information Systems in the fall.

“It’s kind of like using technology and managing, but my real passion is politics. I want to be mayor of Wilmington and move up to state politics at some point,” Means said.

But until then, Means is committed to volunteering his time at the Neighborhood House in Southbridge and building his Wilmington Urban Chess Initiative where he mentors at-risk youth through a game of chess.

“It’s important [to highlight stories like this] especially in our community because we keep reading about the shootings, and killings and what this guy is doing is phenomenal,” said community activist Norman Oliver.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.