UPDATE: This project is ended, but you can still show your support! Click here to make your gift.
My dream was to go to college and, as I figured it, joining the military was the only way I was going to get there. Although I was an honors student in high school, I knew paying for college, even if I got a partial scholarship and worked full-time, was out of the question. My mother, Mary Anne, was a single-parent and, even with her steady job, she still had two other children at home and had little left over at the end of each month. At the time, the federal financial aid process was inscrutable and in the late 1980s, Frederick Douglass High School offered little in the way of resources to help me navigate it. And so, in 1986 I did what I needed to do to achieve my goal of a college education. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
After four years in the Navy, I enrolled at Georgia State with the idea that I would take some of my requirements and transfer to the University of Georgia after a year. Almost immediately, my plans changed. At Georgia State, I took the tiger (or panther) by the tail and— between classes, studying, and my part-time job in the Office of the Dean of Students—squeezed in as many extracurricular activities as I could fit into the day: Phi Beta Sigma, Incept, the NAACP, and the Black Student Alliance; Student Government Association, the literary magazine, and Leadership Conclave. I was the 1994 Homecoming King. For one semester, I even played Pounce at basketball games. I fell in with a group of close friends and found that life at Georgia State was everything I'd dreamed college might be.
April 26, 1994 was just another average day for me, until I got to work. The office door had not yet closed before the department’s administrative assistant greeted me. There was nothing unusual about the greeting, except her tone and the look on her face. “Darryl,” my name got caught in her throat before she could finish the second syllable. “Come with me. I’m so sorry. It’s your brother.” That Tuesday in April, I walked into Grady Hospital to learn that my younger brother, David, had been shot and killed.
Today, as Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, I see students every day who share and reinforce aspects of my own story: students from single-parent, working-class homes; students from underfunded, resource-poor high schools; students who are the first in their family to attend college; students who are doing whatever it takes to stay in school without financial help from their family.
In early 2016, I established the David Jemel Holloman Memorial Scholarship to honor the memory of my brother. Created as an opportunity to turn tragedy into triumph, the $1,000 scholarship will be available to first-year, Pell Grant-eligible undergraduate students. It is designed to help students succeed by easing their financial burden in the first year while they acclimate to college life. The first David Jemel Holloman Memorial Scholarship will be awarded in 2020.
Your gift will help to increase the size of the endowment so that additional scholarships may be awarded over time. Through this project, I am hoping to raise an additional $10,000 to ensure that future first-generation college students, like I was, are able to pursue their education. All funds raised will be used to increase the scholarship endowment.
Thank you so much for your support. Your gifts will help change the lives of first-year Georgia State students. Please continue to show your support by sharing this project.