DaZhane Jones, a Grace College sophomore from Indianapolis, was recently one of 30 Hoosier students to receive the “Realizing the Dream” scholarship from Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI). Each of the honorees is a sophomore student who has “realized the dream” to be the first in his or her family to attend college.
One out of every three students on ICI campuses is first-generation. Generous financial aid provided by ICI institutions, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all Hoosier students, including DaZhane.
DaZhane was first introduced to Grace College when her admissions counselor, Keianna Yoder, came to her high school and encouraged her to apply. After taking Keianna’s advice, DaZhane visited Grace for the first time, and everything clicked for her.
“On that visit, I fell in love with the school and the community,” said DaZhane. “I chose Grace because I knew I could be my true self and leave my footprint here.”
DaZhane is double majoring in elementary education and special education with a minor in youth ministry. After a year and a half on campus, DaZhane has already gotten involved as a student mentor to help freshman students adjust to college and serves as the coordinator of the Black Student Association.
When she found out she was awarded the Realizing the Dream Scholarship, DaZhane was in complete shock. “I did not believe it to be true, so I had to re-read the email a couple of times,” she said. “I prayed about it and went to tell my mom and dad the good news.”
DaZhane chose Alicia Harvey, current principal at The PATH School in Indianapolis, as her “most influential educator.”
“I met Mrs. Harvey when she was the principal at Arsenal Technical High School, and she has been a huge part of my educational life ever since,” said DaZhane. “She has been a mentor to me since I was in sixth grade, not only supporting me in my educational dreams but all of my siblings and my parents as well.”
Looking forward, DaZhane hopes to use her degrees to work closely with children both in educational and spiritual ways. Until she graduates, she plans on continuing to maximize her college experience in honor of those who have supported her on her journey.
“A huge thanks are due to the faculty and staff here at Grace that have impacted me since I arrived. I’m so thankful for everyone who has helped me in my educational journey and has been there every step of the way.”
A Version of this story originally appeared in a press release from Grace College and Theological Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind.