College offers full tuition to 'Extreme Makeover' family

LINCOLNTON, N.C.,None — A local college has offered the family being featured in "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" an extreme scholarship offer: full tuition for all eight children.

James and Devonda Friday of Lincolnton were chosen as the recipients of a new home because of their dedication to helping children in foster care find homes. They adopted five siblings at once to keep the brothers and sisters from being split up.

The Fridays found out Thursday that Belmont Abbey College will pay full tuition for all of their children, said Belmont Abbey College Athletic Director Quin Monahan.

That could mean more than $700,000 in potential savings. Current college tuition at the Abbey is $26,182 per year. The oldest daughter is already enrolled as a student at Shaw University in Raleigh.

College officials decided to offer full tuition to the children after they learned more about the family getting a home makeover because it fit with the mission of the college of helping the community, Monahan said.

"This is actually a great gift for mom and dad," Monahan said. "The kids, they're going to have to work for it. But we're really excited about the day when we can welcome them on campus."

Chris, 15, is the oldest child still living at home, followed by Kamaya, 14; Jdiah, 14; Carly, 10; Olivia, 10; Luke, 6 and London, 6.

Paige Hemmis of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and a crew came to the college Monday to film the announcement, said Chris Poore, Belmont Abbey College sports information director. The segment will feature about 50 students and college President Bill Thierfelder outside the Abbey Basilica.

The segment is slated to be a part of the two-hour special to air next December. ABC announced Thursday it was canceling the TV series, though it will finish out the current season and air four special episodes.