Class of 2016 alumna, Keara Jones, is a recipient of the 2017 Coca-Cola Scholarship and a new Coca Cola First Generation Scholar. She is one from a select list of students from around the country to receive this prestigious award. Jones, a former MSA theatre student, is currently attending Clark-Atlanta University and majoring in theatre.

“I was called into the financial aid office and was told that they were looking at me to fill in an empty space.”, said Jones. “I was happy, our first year class has over 900 students and to be told that I was a candidate to fill the position was all God’s doing”, she said. According to Jones, there are only 14 recipients at Clark-Atlanta University. Keara’s responsibility included submitting an essay. After review, she was immediately selected. Here responsibilities doesn’t end there, though.

Keara received well over $20,000 to cover all tuition and fees for four years, and is an automatic renewal scholarship. She’ll have to maintain a 2.8 GPA and complete a required number of community service hours. “This scholarship means so much to me. I am forever grateful for this blessing. I started the #paymytuitionchallenge hashtag campaign back during senior year and was determined to have school paid for and with God’s grace, that is exactly what I did.”, she said. Keara is also a part of the Isabella T. Jenkins Honors Program, which requires her to maintain a 3.5 GPA.

“Since I do not have to worry about how school will be paid for, I can focus more on my studies and also being a great asset to my institution. I plan to remain in the Honors Program and be more involved on and off campus.”, said Jones. It is her hope to intern and study abroad every summer of her collegiate career. “I’m actually traveling to London, England to study abroad for a week in May 2017.”, she said.

Not only is Keara active in book studies, she is quite active in theatre production. “I am very active in the theatre departments here at Clark-Atlanta as well as Spelman College and Morehouse College. The theatre departments here in the AUC (Atlanta University Center) allow all three schools to collaborate on shows and different opportunities.”, said Jones.

She was recently cast in a theatre production, “Miss Julie“. “It was challenging trying to adjust to college as well as handle a lead role. It was challenging, but I made it through and conquered. I would like to thank MSA for that opportunity. I felt extremely prepared to take on that obstacle due to my training at Mississippi School of the Arts. I was also cast in another show at Spelman College called “From the Mississippi Delta.” This is funny because I am from the Mississippi Delta.”, she said. Keara plans to work with the Tony Award-winning director and Clark-Atlanta alumn, Kenny Leon, on his show “Holler If You Hear Me” which he will be directing next year, featuring AUC students.

Keara managed to balance two productions and school courses during her first semester of college. “I am forever grateful for my experience at MSA.”, she said. Jones graduated Mississippi School of the Arts in May 2016 with a total of over $1.5 million dollars worth of scholarship offers from colleges and universities around the nation. Her MSA class total was over $8.6 million. Keara is a native of Tunica, Mississippi and was a former student at Rosa Fort High School before auditioning at Mississippi School of the Arts to complete her challenging, fine arts education.

Mississippi School of the Arts is a public, residential high school of fine arts. We serve eleventh and twelfth graders from all over Mississippi. Entrance into the school requires audition, which takes place during the sophomore year. Sophomore applications are due February 1st of every year. Audition applicants may audition for up to three disciplines, which includes: Dance, Theatre, Visual, Vocal, Media (film/cinema), and Literary Arts. Click Here for admissions information. Interested in MSA’s Department of Theatre? Click Here to visit the department web site.