Testimonials from our Scholars


Chelsea Fitzhugh — 2012 Scholar — University of Georgia 

“My first year at the University of Georgia has been amazing. I admit that at the beginning, I struggled with the culture shock of coming from a small 98% African American high school to a huge predominantly white institution where I rarely see other brown faces. Adjusting not only to being a minority but also being surrounded by other students who are phenomenal scholars and individuals has made me grow both academically and socially.”

 “I have gained a new understanding and appreciation of struggling to make A’s, networking for future opportunities, and trying to make a name for myself in a new and huge place. Here at the end of my freshman year, I can look back and see how much I have grown from the small-town girl I was a year ago.”

 “I am so grateful for the help GJEF has given me to open my world and broaden my horizons. I am truly excited to see where the next three years of my undergraduate studies take me.”


Kenneth Towns — 2012 Scholar — University of Georgia  

You would not believe you guys were just on my mind; I was just telling my mom that I needed to email you to tell you how school was going.”

 “Well, as you know I attend the University of Georgia, where I am majoring in Business Management, with a minor in Accounting. School so far has been great; last semester I earned a 3.45 G.P.A. and I even walked on the football team (but I did not make the travel squad).”

 “I thought that the adjustment from high school to college would be hard, but it hasn’t been; I mean yes, I miss my mom and her home-cooking, but my classes have been very straight forward and my professors have been very helpful. The dorms are pretty nice and my roommates are good guys – I’m glad. The only thing that I don’t like is the cost of books! Who would have thought that just four books would cost over five hundred dollars used?”

 “That’s why I am soooo THANKFUL to GJEF for awarding me the scholarship last year; it has truly been a blessing to me and a relief. Everyday that I go to class I think about the sacrifices my mom made over the years and those people and organizations that believed in me and I strive to do my best because I want to make them proud. Next semester I’m striving for all A’s!


 Quiana Childs — 2012 Scholar — Valdosta State  

“I am very thankful for the scholarship amount you have awarded me. This assistance will help with my plans to further my education.”




 Danielle Turner — 2012 Scholar — Georgia Southern University

“I am truly enjoying Georgia Southern. I am slowly, but surely finding my place and interests on the campus. Academically, I am doing quite well. I had the honor of making the President’s List with 4.0 GPA, and I was also induced into an Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma. I feel extremely accomplished so far. I plan to keep striving for the best.”


 Dervin Cunningham — 2010 Scholar — University of Georgia

“My Gaines-Jones scholarship was integral in giving me the opportunity to pursue a post secondary education without worrying about the financial burden I would be placing on my family. Although my family are hard workers and I cannot remember a time where I did not have food to eat, we have never been rich. I always knew I would be able to go to college, but I did not want my mother and father to worry about paying for my tuition, room & board, and the multitude of other college-related expenses.  The Gaines-Jones Education Foundation has helped to provide me with some sense of financial security so that I can focus more on my academic goals and dreams and for that I am forever thankful.”





Lynette Caseman— 2013 Scholar — University of Georgia
2014 ESSAY

In 2013 I wrote my Gaines – Jones essay on what had been the hardest, most arduous year of my life. Being homeless was my life then, and it was all I could see around me and I just wanted desperately to get out.

And I thought, if I just make it to college, everything will be okay.

Of course that is not the case.

College has brought me many more challenges in the form of financial aid and student account issues; snarky professors and homework abound.

I have been challenged in ways that I’ve never been challenged before, I am being tested in subjects I have no idea about, even after days of studying.

But I am getting through.

Even through all the challenges, I know this is what I have to do. College is the way, education is the way. If I was not here, working towards this degree, where would I be? What would I do?

So I go into every day knowing that even if I can’t see the purpose now, that it will become apparent later. And I try and keep that in mind during every challenge and struggle.

And the dilemma comes from not just balancing the course load, but also balancing the other responsibilities. Been able to stay on top of financial aid. Knowing when to go to the health center when I’m sick. Find groceries and managing finances. In the past year I’ve learned so much about what it means to join this large adult world.

And it is scary.

But I’m getting through, and I am finding my way. I made a lot of mistakes. But it’s all a part of the process.

I have another three years here, and I want to make them better than my first. This year has changed me greatly. I have learned responsibility and face my shortcomings. And I’m not completely where I need to be yet, but I’m trying. I will try and do better next year, I will focus more on school work and studying. But I will also try and join more extra curriculars and get out more, if time and money and school allow.

And I will continue to try.

And I might fail, but I faced that over this past school year. I’ve dealt with so much in my life, but it was a year in college that almost downed me.

But I’m stronger for it. And I’ll keep pushing through.