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Chesapeake student earns 2017 MLK Scholarship for her anti-bullying platform

Emeline Jones, 20, remembers being inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech and the sit-ins he inspired in North Carolina.

“He envisioned a world where we can all live in a harmonious atmosphere,” she said. “That made an impression on me.”

The Chesapeake resident is the recipient of the 2017 Tidewater Community College’s Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship.

Ms. Jones will earn her Associate of Science in Science in May. A “CSI” buff, she plans to pursue forensics at George Mason University this fall.

“It is a privilege and honor to be chosen,” she said, attributing her selection to an anti-bullying project that dates back to her days as a Girl Scout.

Ms. Jones started scouting in the first grade with her mom as the troop leader. She earned the Gold Award – the highest award in scouting – for the interactive program she put together for her fellow scouts. It included a slideshow, speaker and card game that provoked her fellow scouts to think about their actions toward others.

“The basis for it was, ‘Don’t be a bystander. Stick up for others.’ If one person stands up, it could make the difference for everyone,” she said.

Or as King famously said, ““Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

While Ms. Jones never felt bullied, she remembers being picked on in her high school physical education class. A classmate’s suicide also had a profound effect on her sensitivity to the issue.

“There were a lot of small things and those can add up to big ones,” she said. “We need to join forces to stop bullying in our schools.

“Treat people the same way they’re supposed to be treated regardless of how they look.”

Ms. Jones resides with her mother and stepfather, Denise and Dennis Connell, and brother, Daniel, in the South Norfolk section of Chesapeake. Her father, John Jones, resides in Chatham, N.Y.; her older brother, Zach attends the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh.