Jaiquann Beckham: ‘I.Am.’ my dream

By Justin Sillner
September 17, 2009

Shannon Keough

Oprah. Yes, Oprah. The all powerful Oprah. People often joke about her one day ruling the world or starting her own country, but no one can deny that the woman seems to have an almost magical way of changing someone’s life for the better.

Not sold on the idea? Well, ask Jaiquann Beckham. He’s living proof of Oprah’s magic touch.

Beckham, freshman special education major, was one of four recipients of the “I.am.scholarship” presented by Grammy award-winning artist, Will.I.Am on the Oprah Winfrey show.

“After receiving the scholarship, I honestly wanted to cry,” Beckham said.

Beckham originally reached out to Oprah, Dr. Phil and Tyra Banks by writing a letter. The letter described how hard he and his friends had worked in high school.

Beckham, Barien White, Darien White and Elijah Williams were fortunate enough to hear back from Oprah.

“We were told that Will.I.Am. was looking for a kid in a single parent household to present his scholarship to,” Beckham said.

The “I.am.scholarship” was created by Will.I.Am. in 2009 to aid children who don’t have the resources for a proper college education. Will.I.am. has created a scholarship to take students who dream of going to college but financially can’t, and make it a reality.

Beckham, Williams and the Whites were the first-ever recipients of the “I.am.scholarship.”

“Everyone knows Oprah gives out so many amazing gifts but going onto the show I didn’t want to expect anything from her so I just remained calm and humble,” Beckham said. “If you watch the show I pretty much kept a smile on my face because I was completely shocked.”

Like many Cabrini students, Beckham was attracted to Cabrini due to its proximity to his home and its excellent academic reputation.

Beckham was highly involved in the track department during his high school years at Christiana High School in Delaware. He has taken his passion of athletic competition to Cabrini by joining the College’s track team.

“It just takes some hard work , patience and a great attitude. He has the ability to do it,” Thomas O’Hora, cross-country coach, said.

Beckham hasn’t let the star treatment from Oprah and Will.I.Am. go to his head.

“Jaiquann didn’t even tell me he was on Oprah,” Tyler Rooke, freshman education major and roommate of Beckham, said. “I was very excited to meet Jaiquann. He seemed like a cool guy and someone I would get along with.”

Beckham seems primed to act on Cabrini’s motto, “Do Something Extraordinary.”

“Possibilities are endless and anything is possible if you are willing to work hard and achieve a goal,” Beckham said.

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Justin Sillner

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