Adams Central’s Mary Jones selected as 2021 USF Pay It Forward Scholarship winner

December 9, 2021

The University of Saint Francis named Mary Jones, a senior at Adams Central High School in Monroe, Indiana, as the winner of the full-tuition Pay It Forward Scholarship for 2021.

USF President Rev. Dr. Eric Albert Zimmer and WANE-TV’s Emily Dwire honored Jones with the scholarship award on Thursday at a school assembly. USF partners with WANE-TV to annually promote the Pay It Forward Scholarship.

The full-tuition scholarship to USF has a value of more than $135,000 and is awarded to an incoming USF student who represents going above and beyond to serve others and “pay it forward.” Jones, daughter of Mike and Leah Jones, was selected after submitting an essay, reaching the finalists stage and being profiled in a feature video by WANE-TV. She will enter USF for the 2022-23 academic year.

The other Pay It Forward finalists—Zaeda Knudson of Homestead High School and Tommy O’Neil of Carroll High School—will receive half-tuition scholarships.

Jones’ entry essay detailed how she worked to raise money and make Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) available at local sports facilities and parks, among other service-oriented projects. The story of a friend’s brother who tragically died at a baseball facility inspired her to work to make AEDs more readily available. An influential teacher who passed away at an early age also spurred her to dedicate her time to helping her community neighbors.

“My passion for others and the connections I’ve made were large driving forces behind my push for community service,” Jones wrote in her essay. “But my faith was easily the biggest spark to my passion. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another,” and I am proud to use the gifts God has given me to serve others.”

Founded in 1890 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, the University of Saint Francis offers more than 60 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs through the College of Health Sciences, College of Arts, Sciences, and Business and College of Adult and Distance Education. In addition to its traditional programs, USF designs focused curricula for working adults in Fort Wayne, Crown Point and online. USF Downtown houses the university’s business and music technology programs while offering enhanced internship and networking opportunities for students. The University of Saint Francis campus experience includes 18 athletic programs boasting two individual and four team NAIA national championships and is recognized as an NAIA Five-Star Champion of Character institution. Approximately 2,200 students from a broad geographic region attend USF.