, Corbin, KY

Local News

February 24, 2009

Grim chooses Union College

College to cover costs of tuition, board

By Samantha Swindler / Managing Editor

Shawn Grim, the eastern Kentucky teen who was featured on 20/20’s “A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains,” told ABC News on Friday that he would be attending Union College this semester on a football scholarship.

Grim had visited the campus last year and again last week. When he was interviewed after his tour on Thursday, he said he hadn’t yet committed to the school.

By the following day, he had confirmed his decision, which was aired on a follow-up segment Friday on 20/20.

The former Johnson Central High School football standout was one of several children and teens featured in last week’s piece by Diane Sawyer on poverty in Appalachia. Grim is shown sleeping in his pick-up truck or crashing at friends’ homes in an effort to avoid the fighting, drinking and other problems at home. He was a 5-foot-7-inch tall football star in high school, known as the “Grim Reaper” to his opponents. After becoming the first in his family to graduate high school, Grim spent just eight weeks at Pikeville College on a football scholarship before dropping out and returning home.

“I found out I couldn’t pay for the college, I had to come back home,” he had said. “No one’s perfect.”

Grim began his time at Union Monday as a part-time student. The school’s Spring II semester begins next week, said Brenna Wallhausser, director of communications for UC. Until then, she said Grim will be registering for classes and “getting settled in.”

Last week, Barbourville Mayor David Thompson said he would be working with Grim to find him a summer job, possibly at the city’s waterpark. David and Helen McKenzie — whose nephew Dr. Edwin Smith and his Kids First Dental Care were also profiled in the 20/20 piece — offered a place for Grim to visit on weekends and holidays where he can get a home-cooked meal or just some needed time away from campus.

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