Photo by Curt Yeomans
Stockbridge native Julia Francis (second from left) and Keyana Scott (second from right) received Congressional Black Caucus scholarships from U.S. Congressman David Scott (D-Ga., middle) and his wife Alfredia (left) on Monday. Also pictured is Katrina Finch (right), an administrator over the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s scholarship program.
SMYRNA — Jonesboro native Keyana Scott was inspired by her own journey of wearing braces throughout her childhood and wants to become an orthodontist so she can help future generations of children have straight, healthy teeth.
Stockbridge native Julia Francis said she doesn’t want to just follow in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey by running her own syndicated television production company — she wants to be “better” at it than the uber-successful talk show host has been.
Scott and Francis were among the six students from the 13th Congressional District who received Congressional Black Caucus scholarships Monday from U.S. Congressman David Scott and his wife, Alfredia, at his Smyrna Constituent’s Aid Office.
Keyana Scott, 18, (no relation to the congressman) is a Mundy’s Mill High School graduate and a freshman biology major at Spelman College. She received a $1,800 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation General Mills Health Scholarship.
“I’m really excited because I now have enough money to go to college and not have to worry about the funds that I need to pay for it,” she said.
Francis, 18, is a graduate of Dutchtown High School and a freshman mass communications major at Georgia Southern University. She received a $1,640 Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Education Scholarship.
“It was a relief because I really needed the scholarship and it’s something I can put on my résumé,” said Francis.
This marked the 10th year David and Alfredia Scott have handed out scholarships to students from the 13th Congressional District. The Scotts have given out $119,000 in Congressional Black Caucus scholarships to 65 college students over the last decade, according to the congressman’s office.
Alfredia Scott said that the congressional spouses are, in a way, like proud surrogate mothers to the scholarship recipients. She pointed to the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” as one reason why the scholarships are important.
“We are just one [part] of that little village,” she said. “Whatever we can do to help that child — that’s that mothering that comes out of the spouses. We’re just embracing all of these children that come from the different communities and bringing them into our little village to help them.”
She said the spouses group keeps track of the scholarship recipients throughout their college careers to make sure everything goes well for them.
Congressman Scott shared his own story of how the residents of his hometown of Daytona Beach raised $300 to give him a scholarship to attend Florida A&M University when he was 18.
He said that scholarship inspired him to work hard in college, get good grades and gain additional scholarships to pay his way through his work on his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He said the scholarship recipients could be similarly inspired by the support they have received to become successful, contributing members of society.
They might even become members of congress who someday give out their scholarships to college freshmen.
“If you help these kids get a start, it inspires them,” Scott said. “These kids are going to get more scholarships. They’re going to apply themselves and they’re going to get a sense that ‘If I apply myself and if I work hard, I can get rewarded.’ ”