Legacy of Success

Our reward is in helping our young adults strive for more, and achive their goals. 

Marcayla Hester 

Marcayla is a 2010 graduate of Jefferson High School, where she was a proud recipient of the Jackson County Community Outreach scholarship. She then attended Duke University and double majored in Economics and Public Policy Studies. Following Duke, she began her counseling career in Washington, DC working closely with mission driven clients including federal government agencies, nonprofits, and higher education universities.

Realizing her desire to grow as a community minded business leader, Marcayla is now pursuing an MBA at The Wharton School University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Education policy at the Penn Graduate School of Education.

She’s forever thankful for the support of the Jackson County Community Outreach.

Tarla S. Atwell                     

Tarla was a graduate of  Jackson County Comprehensive High School, in the year 2000, when she became the recipient of the JCCO Scholarship Award. She used those funds to help her pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science at Spellman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Having accomplished her BA, it was now time to go for her Masters. She attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia where she obtained a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A).

Tarla launched her professional career by working for her familie’s business, Draga Laboratories, where she spent 11 years as Vice-President overseeing all financial and legal matters.

Through patience, persistence and prayer, Tarla’s dream of attending law school became a reality in 2015. She graduated with a Juris Doctor Degree (JD) cum laude  from John Marshall Law School in May 2019. 

Currently, Tarla has a prestigious clerkship with the Piedmont Judicial Circuit which serves Jackson, Banks, and Barrow counties.

Tarla is happily married to David Atwell III, and they reside in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Aprilea Hillard

JCCO 1st Scholarship Recipient Year 1999

 My story is one of being part of the “at risk” group in the community during my high school years.  By the time high school graduation was approaching, I was a single teen-age mother of a toddler, struggling to get through school, working full time to keep up with life. I knew I wanted to attend college, where I wanted to go and a pretty good idea of what I wanted to study. However, I had no idea how I would fund it. My plan was just to work until I could afford it. I found out a short time before graduation that I would be receiving the JCCO scholarship, and it changed my whole outlook on college.

The JCCO scholarship provided me with the opportunity to begin right away. I was able to use the money for administration and registration fees. That adds up quickly when beginning college courses. One of the greatest things about this scholarship is that it was in my account at college so that I could access it whenever I needed it. I was able to relax a little and focus on my courses.

When I stop to think how the JCCO scholarship impacted my education, I first think of how great it was to not have a financial burden during that time. Then, of how many times I might have had to put my education on hold, or simply dropped out if I had not had this scholarship. And finally, how great it was to have a community standing behind and encouraging me to better myself.

I have since finished with an Associates Degree in Nursing and have a great career that all started with a scholarship from the JCCO.  I sit here 20 years later as a Travel Nurse with a grown daughter and 2 granddaughters and think how thankful I was for this scholarship and the support of my community. Thank you for allowing me to share my story, and thank you to all the community members who continue to make the JCCO scholarship program possible.


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