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    Opinion... Troy Townsend

    Southern Scholarship Foundation offers welcome for honors students

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    November 15, 2016

    By Troy Townsend

    College students who display great academic merit and good moral character, but do not have that jingle in their pocket have hope with the Southern Scholarship Foundation.

    The Southern Scholarship Foundation, better known as SSF, has been an integral part of student’s lives since its inception in 1955. Students living in the foundation benefit from rent free housing, community living, and opportunities to meet influential community leaders.

    SSF operates 27 houses across Florida, with houses on the campuses of Florida A&M University, Florida State University, University of Florida, and Florida Gulf Coast University, while also providing housing for students at Tallahassee Community College, and Santa Fe College. Currently, over 450 students are living in SSF housing, and over 8,000 students have been residents.

    Each house comes equipped with a fully furnished living room, kitchen with appliances, a laundry room, study room, and dining room.

    The foundation’s motto, “Education for Life,” extends beyond the houses, but into the personal lives of the residents.

    “Never would I imagine being able to grow interpersonally to become the best leader that I can be,” said Tayla Stewart, a senior Business Management major with a minor in Religion, African American Studies, and Hospitality at Florida State University, from Tampa, Florida.

    “Without SSF, I would not have the convenience of going to school like I do now,” said Jonathan Martin-Gilliam, a senior English Education student attending Florida A&M University from Tallahassee.

    To qualify for the scholarship, a student must have at least a 3.0 GPA, display financial need, be accepted into one of the campuses, and have good character. Each house is managed by a House Manager, who acts as a liaison between the Foundation and the house, while enforcing and abiding by rules pertinent to the house’s success.

    The other officer positions in the house, the president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, and business managers, assist in keeping each house functioning.

    The idea for the foundation was spawned by Dr. Mode L. Stone, a native of Blountstown, Florida who was a professor in the College of Education at Florida State University. He wanted to provide inexpensive living accommodations for accomplished students who did not have the adequate funds for room and board.

    He originally rented out barracks to provide housing for two Florida State students. This act of kindness caught the attention of many, as word got out about Stone’s ideas and motives.

    He gathered with professors Sam T. Lastinger, Marion Hay, Hazen Curtis, former Dean of Education Ralph Eyman, and Attorney J. Velma Keen to further improve the concept. Thus, on April 13, 1955, the Southern Scholarship Foundation was officially incorporated as a non-profit organization.

    Troy Townsend, a student at the School of Journalism & Graphic Communication, is an adviser for the students housed by the Foundation at FAMU.