10 more 5th-graders earn boost toward college education from Columbus Scholars

Special to the Ledger-Enquirer\Darrell Roaden

Ten academically talented but economically disadvantaged Muscogee County School District fifth-graders became the newest class of Columbus Scholars in a signing ceremony Saturday at Richards Middle School.

Columbus Scholars, in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley, allocates an average of $7,500 in privately raised funds for each selected student, according to the Columbus Scholars news release. These funds are held by the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley. BBBSCV strives to match each scholar with a local mentor who supports the dream of college education.

The newest Columbus Scholars are:

▪ Lana Crawford, St. Marys Road Magnet Academy

▪ Jamisha Drayton-Davis, Key Elementary School

▪ Quintavious Fudge, Fox Elementary School

▪ Camren Harris, Davis Elementary School

▪ TaKay’Sheunna Jordan, Fox Elementary School

▪ Nikedriona Keys, Dawson Elementary School

▪ Ayden Knighton, Hannan Magnet Academy

▪ Kimberly Riley, Fox Elementary School

▪ Clyde Steible, Key Elementary School

▪ Christian Youngs, Clubview Elementary School

The 2017 class brings to 65 the total number of children chosen to be Columbus Scholars since the project started in 2009. They are selected among applicants from throughout MCSD.

The goal of Columbus Scholars is to make college possible for Muscogee County fifth-graders who have outstanding academic records but come from difficult family circumstances.

“We try to identify these kids before life beats them down,” Columbus Scholars chairman and former Ledger-Enquirer executive editor Ben Holden said in the news release. “We give them a hand up, not a hand out. One of the core principles of Columbus Scholars is to turn poor kids into middle class kids. Give them a ladder out of poverty.”

The students attend monthly enrichment sessions to learn about a variety of topics, such as the criminal justice system and etiquette.

Traditional scholarships provide an award to a student who is already going to college; Columbus Scholars sets aside funds to motivate and help more students reach college. As of April 18, $608,084 in cash and stock-market appreciation has been raised and directed to the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley by the Columbus Scholars Board, according to the news release.

Columbus State University has guaranteed two students from earlier classes $10,000 each in scholarship funding. One-hundred percent of all donations received to date have gone directly into the Columbus Scholars Fund at the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley. All administrative expenses of Columubs Scholars have been borne by board members or friends of the program, who contribute to a separate administrative fund, according to the news release.

Donations can be sent and made payable to the Community Foundation of the Chattahoochee Valley/Columbus Scholars Fund, 1340 13th Street, Columbus, GA 31901. Additional information is at