Class of 2017
Xavier University of Louisiana
“Failure is not falling down; it is refusing to get up.”
Looking back over Aja’s years with The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, there is no failure in sight. Aja McCoy has graduated a semester early from Xavier of New Orleans, earning a 3.2 cumulative GPA while taking 18 units per semester on a regular basis and simultaneously studying for the LSAT. She majored in political science and from the start of college considered herself pre-law. It stands to reason that Aja would be spending this semester applying to law school and working as an intern for St. Louis Small Business Development Center.
Aja does not know how to rest for very long. She recalls a hospital visit when she was nine years old. Aja’s father raised two daughters by himself. On this particular day, her father took her outside to get some air and they saw a helicopter starting to land. Though her father warned her to stay back, Aja burst forward and was blown back into her father’s arms from the wind of the propellers. He smiled at her and said, “You just can’t get enough, huh?”. To this day, Aja has remained willing to try new things and navigate any obstacle in her way.
As a student at Northwest Academy of Law (a St. Louis Public high school), Aja maintained a 3.7 GPA, won a number of debate awards, participated in mock trial, and was a part of many civics programs. She worked as an intern at Greensfelder Law Firm through St. Louis Internship Program, and spent the summer between high school and college as a peer mediator in a program of American Friends Service Committee. Aja also completed an internship at St. Louis Graduates’ High School to College Center last summer, meeting students and providing financial aid counsel under the guidance of The Scholarship Foundation.
In total, during her accelerated seven undergraduate semesters, Aja borrowed $25,350 in interest-free loans and received $21,350 in scholarship grants from The Scholarship Foundation. She has long since begun contributing her wisdom and encouragement, writing an open letter of advice and encouragement to high school seniors which appeared in a recent Scholarship Foundation newsletter. Most importantly, Aja is not just a college graduate but an individual who now knows her own capacity to contribute to creating a better world.
When Aja first applied in 2014, she wrote, “I used to think that because I’m not the smartest that I shouldn’t take on challenges that others would better conquer. But I learned that when an opportunity is at the door, take it! You never know what it can do for you overall. Some opportunities come only once and whether you take them affects your life. I found myself having thoughts of uncertainty as I began applying for this scholarship…Then it hit me. It’s not just what this scholarship can do for me; it’s what I bring as well. Looking at my resume, letters of recommendations, and the people in my community who tell me every day that I am making a change makes me confident that I do deserve this opportunity.”
Who would argue with that? Watch for Aja McCoy to continue contributing to a world deeply in need of her considerable strength and intelligence.