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First-Generation College Student Honored for ‘Realizing the Dream’

DaZhane Jones, a Grace College sophomore, was recently one of 30 Hoosier students to receive the “Realizing the Dream” scholarship

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.

The event is made possible by the support of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Each honoree received a $3,000 check to help with college costs. Additionally, each student selected a “most influential educator,” who received a $1,000 professional development grant.

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 Jones.
Jones was first introduced to Grace College when her admissions counselor, Keianna Yoder, came to her high school and encouraged her to apply. After taking Yoder’s advice, Jones 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 Jones. “I chose Grace because I knew I could be my true self and leave my footprint here.”Jones is double majoring in elementary education and special education with a minor in youth ministry. After a year and a half on campus, Jones 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 Jones found out she was awarded the Realizing the Dream Scholarship, she was in complete shock. “I did not believe it to be true, so I had to re-read the email a couple of times,” said Jones. “I prayed about it and went to tell my mom and dad the good news.”
Jones 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 Arlington High School, and she has been a huge part of my educational life ever since,” said Jones. “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, Jones hopes to use her degrees to work closely with children both in educational and spiritual ways. Until she graduates, Jones 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.”

Grace College provides significant financial aid for students. In fact, nearly 25% of its incoming students are attending Grace tuition-free through a combination of federal, state and institutional aid.

For more information about Grace College, including financial aid and scholarship information, visit or call (866) 974-7223.

Tagged With: Campus Life, Scholarships and Financial Aid, Student Stories