The Links Inc. awarded $2,500 scholarships to three Jackson State University students who have demonstrated a desire to serve their community.
The outdoor ceremony at the Margaret Walker Center’s Ayer Hall was punctuated by sounds from the Sonic Boom’s drumline and cheering squads. The event also included two honorees from Tougaloo College who also received $2,500 scholarships.
The presidents of each of the HBCUs hailed the efforts of the The Links Inc., an international nonprofit corporation and one of the nation’s largest volunteer service organizations.
“We appreciate so much The Links for its leadership and kind gifts to our students,” said Jackson State University President Thomas K. Hudson. “One of the best things you can do is invest in their education.”
Expressing optimism about the students’ future contributions, Hudson told the scholar-servants that they have a “lot to uphold, but I know you’ll continue to do well and work hard in your studies.”
Tougaloo President Dr. Carmen J. Walters congratulated The Links for “seeing the vision and understanding why we do what we do and how important this is.”
Thankful that the Links, Inc. chose five young adult women to represent JSU and Tougaloo, Walters predicted that the honorees would cultivate a formidable legacy. “I’m so proud of what you do; proud of who you are; and proud of what you’re going to become.”
Betty A Mallet, president of the Jackson chapter of the The Links Inc., said that with the selection of the five young scholarship recipients “the southern area of The Links, Inc. has taken our service goals to new heights.”
Mallet joined Linda Smith, president of the LeFleur’s Bluff (MS) Chapter of the Links, Inc. in saluting the recipients. “We are honored to celebrate the achievements of these young ladies,” said Smith, revealing that 25 people were selected for the scholarships, with five of them from the Jackson metro area.
Dr. Juno Leggette Jacobs, an HBCU co-chair and assistant director in JSU’s Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment, introduced each of the recipients:
- Helen Brown, a senior criminal justice major
- Joanne LeBrun, a doctoral student studying clinical psychology
- Katelyn Irons, a biology master’s student
- Alashija Johnson, a junior biology major
- Mia Sanders, a junior elementary education major
LeBrun, of Florida, said, “I am honored to be able to represent JSU as a servant leader. I’ve always been passionate about serving others, and I hope to become a good example to them. With this contribution, I now will be able to focus on school and continue to excel in my academics.”
Irons said, “I understand the importance of community, friendship and service. One of my main goals in life is to become a beacon of light in my community and inspire other Black and brown children that they can do anything. The sky is not the limit; the sky is just what you stand on to reach the beyond.”
Grateful to be one of five women selected from Mississippi to serve as a 2021 HBCU servant leader scholar, Irons added, “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family, the faculty at Jackson State University, and mentors who constantly support and pour into me.”
Furthermore, as a first-generation college student, Irons again acknowledged the women of Links Inc. for its commitment to service, and lauded JSU for its influence with the National Science Foundation and the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance Program Bridge to Doctorate Program for also supporting and funding her education.