BRIGHT FUTURE: Natchez Early College Student Receives DAR Good Citizen Award – Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

NATCHEZ — Natchez Early College Academy senior Ni-Yah Jones received the Good Citizen Award from the Natchez Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is the first NECA student to do so and compete with other students from the whole state for one scholarship.

The award is given annually to a senior from each of the chapter’s high schools in Adams and Wilkinson counties, DAR Officer Mary Ellen Rosenblatt said.

Selected students are given the opportunity to write an essay and one of these essays is selected to enter the scholarship contest, she said.

“This year was the first that Natchez Early College Academy has participated in the Good Citizen program and we are proud to say that Ni-Yah Jones has been selected as their Good Citizen and is selected to enter the scholarship competition for ‘studies,’ Rosenblatt said.

For the scholarship contest, Jones received a writing prompt and had to complete an on-site essay in two hours.

He was asked, “How do the qualities of a good citizen help sustain our nation?”

The qualities of a good citizen were already listed as reliability, service, leadership and patriotism. However, Jones said all of these qualities were embodied in one that was not listed, unity.

“I feel like unity is the only way to lift the nation,” Jones said. “Everything is better when you work together. Things wouldn’t work if everyone didn’t work together and depend on each other. Even when you have differences of opinion, unity is key.

After earning his associate degree, Jones plans to attend Tugaloo College in Jackson and major in economics. Her goal is to use her love of math in a career as a financial advisor.

She already has her foot in the door in the financial industry after working part-time at Jackson Hewitt Tax Service and is certified to do taxes.

“It was the perfect job to put on my resume. I had to go to tax school for two months to get certified,” she said.

Jones said she also dreams of having a side business as a cosmetologist or real estate agent.

“I love doing my hair and makeup and I want to go to cosmetology school after Tugaloo,” she said.

Jones said the role models in her life are her church family. She is a member of the Prayer Tower Church of God in Christ in Natchez.

Jones not only knows what it takes to be a good citizen, but excels academically. She has a high grade point average of 4.4 and a super score of 27 ACT.

Jones was also a cheerleader at Natchez High School for two years and is a member of a community dance team called Dynamic Dancing Jewels. She is also a member of the National Beta Club, the National Honor Society, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Student Government Association in which she is the senior class president.

She is the daughter of Troylynn Thomas and William Jones Jr.

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