b'Fine Arts Gallery Student Scholarship, the 2022 OutstandingEarls worked as a tutor with the Upward Bound program at Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education Award, and the 2022Mercer University during Summer 2019 and Summer 2020. Outstanding Art Student Overall Award. Upward Bound is an educational program offered during Gray will teach art at Lowndes High School after graduation.the school year and the summer to high school students from low-income families or families where neither parent holds a I also plan to expand my career as an artist by applying forbachelors degree, she said. The purpose of the program is shows regionally and nationally, she said. to increase the rate at which students complete high school and graduate from college. Students who attend the program Gray was raised by her grandmother, Joanne Meyers. She is theare provided with academic tutoring, assistance with the daughter of Jonathan Gray and Tracy Reynolds.college application process, opportunities to go on college visits, and more. Earls volunteered at the Free to Read program hosted by J Amesl. & D orothyh. D ewArc ollege of Appleton Episcopal Ministries in Macon during Summer 2022. e DucAtion& h umAns ervicesFree to Read is a six-week reading and enrichment program m ADisync hAnDlere Arlsofoffered to elementary school students living in underserved Macon, Georgia, is the recipient ofand impoverished communities, she said. Students who the Fall 2022 Presidents Award forattend the program read new books each day, receive reading Academic Excellence for the Jamesinstruction, are fed two meals and a snack, and get to take all L. and Dorothy H. Dewar Collegethe books they have read over the summer home with them at of Education and Human Servicesthe end of the program. at Valdosta State University. She graduates summa cum laude withEarls plans to pursue a career as a middle school or high a Bachelor of Arts in English and aschool English teacher in Georgia. Her goal is to help students Bachelor of Science in Education in Secondary Education. develop a love for reading and writing by creating literacy-rich learning environments. Attaining my degree in both English and secondary education has come with challenges, she said. However, I am thankfulOne of the reasons I have always wanted to be an English to my professors and department heads for ensuring that I wasteacher is because I understand the power of literacy, she equipped to tackle those challenges and am now prepared tosaid. Reading allows students to make sense of the world be successful in my career upon graduating from VSU. I owearound them as they interpret the opinions and experiences of all of my accomplishments to God and my family and extendedothers. Writing allows students to express their own opinions family; they have supported me every step of the way. I willand experiences, a skill essential for students to succeed forever be grateful to my professors, supervisors, and mentorbeyond the classroom.teacher for all the knowledge, resources, and encouragement they have provided me. Finally, I want to recognize myWhen she is home in Macon, Earls attends Lizzie Chapel Baptist secondary education cohort and the rest of my fellow educationChurch, where she volunteers as a childrens church teacher. graduates. It is truly through collaboration and supporting oneHer supportive family includes mom Dr. Pamela Earls, dad Dr. another that we have all made it to this point. Julian Earls, and sister Mariah Earls.As a student, Earls served as an editor on Volume 11 of Omnino, VSUs undergraduate research journal, and published a creative writing piece, The Hidden Noose, in the 2021 edition of On Tap, VSUs student-run and student-read magazine. She was a HOPE Scholar and earned repeated Deans List honors.234TH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY| 27'