Thursday afternoon, the University of Saint Francis and WANE 15 awarded the Pay it Forward Scholarship to Adams Central senior Mary Jones! The full-tuition and fees scholarship, worth about $135,000, is awarded annually to one student who exemplifies what it means to serve others. University of Saint Francis President Father Eric Zimmer presented the scholarship to Jones at a ceremony in front of the high school student body.
“I was definitely not expecting that,” said Jones after the presentation. “I came in here thinking this was about the football team. and after Mr. McCullough pulled me aside my hands started to get really sweaty because I realized what this was about.”
Jones has been involved in countless service projects over the years, and she’s raised thousands of dollars to buy several Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, and place them around her community in areas with the most need.
The Adams Central senior has been paying it forward for years, and the hard work is paying off.
“Honestly the biggest thing I’m looking forward to is now that I don’t have the burden of college finances, is to keep doing what I’ve been doing for so long,” said Jones.
Her parents, who are both staffers at Adams Central Community Schools, also attended the presentation
“From day one God has had her right where he wants her to be and she has been very good about staying in his leadership and being the person he has called her to be,” said Leah Jones, Mary’s mother. “And just to watch her grow, and the way she interacts with adults and her peers and the people around her is just – we are blessed to call her our daughter and be called mom and dad to her.”
“We’re definitely honored and we’re proud of her because we know she’s worked hard, put a lot of effort into her grades and just trying to be a well-rounded student so we’re proud of that and that she can do a lot of different things.” said Mike Jones, Mary’s father.
Jones will head to USF in the fall where she plans to study communications with a minor in public relations or journalism.
You can find out more about the inspiration behind her mission to serve below:
Meet the other Pay it Forward finalists, who will receive half-tuition scholarships:
Tommy O’Neil is a senior at Carroll High School. Here’s his story: Tommy O’Neil Pay it Forward Scholarship finalist
Zaeda Knudson is a senior at Homestead High School. Here’s her story: Zaeda Knudson Pay it Forward Scholarship finalist