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Clayton trio receive congressional scholarships

Three Clayton County students were awarded Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Scholarships by Congressman David Scott and his wife, Alfrieda, Monday. Accepting the scholarships were Aspen Evans (second from left), Mylon Craig (back, second from right) and Sharlee Taylor’s parents, Samuel and Jessilynn Taylor. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Three Clayton County students were awarded Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Scholarships by Congressman David Scott and his wife, Alfrieda, Monday. Accepting the scholarships were Aspen Evans (second from left), Mylon Craig (back, second from right) and Sharlee Taylor’s parents, Samuel and Jessilynn Taylor. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

SMYRNA — Mylon Craig couldn’t stop screaming when she got a call at her Jonesboro home a few weeks ago that may have changed her life.

The Jonesboro High School graduate has been in the midst of preparing for her first semester at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she will study chemical engineering. College tuition in Georgia has been steadily rising in recent years as state funding slowly dwindles, but she got a call from Congressman David Scott’s office recently that meant help was on the way to help cover some of the expense.

Craig was one of this year’s Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Scholarship recipients for the 13th Congressional District. She plans to use the money to pay for textbooks.

“It’s really exciting,” said Craig. “I was literally screaming for 30 minutes when they called and told me I would be receiving the scholarship. I called my grandmother as soon as I found out, and she was screaming with me.”

Ten students from Scott’s congressional district received $1,000 scholarships from his wife, Alfredia Scott, during a ceremony held at his Smyrna district office Monday. Craig, Savannah College of Art and Design sophomore Aspen Evans and University of California-Berkeley senior Sharlee Taylor were the only recipients from Clayton County.

“We are happy to give what we can for the kids because these are hard times and we want to do whatever we can to make sure the kids in our district get a leg up on preparing for the future,” said Alfredia Scott.

And the Clayton County students who received scholarships have big plans for the future, ranging from making breakthroughs in science, to becoming a star, to working with the fashion industry.

Evans said she is studying photography and wants to be a fashion or advertising photographer after college.

“Initially, I wanted to go into journalism and then that segued into wanting to do photojournalism,” said Evans. “Then, I kind of got more interested in just the photography part where I didn’t have to do any writing.”

Taylor’s dream is to be a successful theater actress, said her mother, Jessilynn Taylor. Her accepted the scholarship money for their daughter, who is in Berkeley preparing for her senior year.

“She is graduating in May and planning to go to graduate school and study fine arts,” said Jessilynn Taylor. “She wants to continue doing what she loves, which is acting.”

The aspiring actress is studying theater with a minor in linguistics, and is looking at attending a theater consortium in San Francisco, New York University or Pace University.

If Craig gets her way, people around the world may one time benefit from her scientific research at the gas pump, regardless of whether they know her name.

“I want to develop bio-fuels so that’s what I’m headed to do,” said Craig.

A slew of dignitaries and scholarship officials encouraged recipients to not give up their goals or take the scholarships for granted.

David Scott explained that he was able to get his start because of a scholarship. He recounted the tale of how his neighbors in Jacksonville, Fla., raised $300 to give him a scholarship to attend Florida A & M University. He said he used that opportunity to do well in school and earn additional scholarships. He eventually attended the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business for graduate school, he said.

“Every step of the way, I made it through because of scholarships,” said Scott.

Katrina Finch, scholarship program administrator for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and State Rep. Demetrius Douglas (D-Stockbridge) told recipients they should have faith in their potential and not give up on their goals in the face of adversity.

Finch also encouraged the students to remember the people who support them and believe in their abilities.

“As long as you put faith in your drive and your convictions, I don’t see where there’s anything you can’t achieve,” said Finch.