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Trinity Jones on the path to earning a bachelor’s degree while managing lupus

By: Justus Reed
No matter the task, the future Alcorn State University graduate Trinity Jones is prepared to give her best effort. It’s a trait instilled in her by her parents at a young age.

“I’ve always been a go-getter that likes to be involved and in the know,” said Jones, a social sciences education major. “During my senior year of high school, I was voted Most Involved, and I continued that legacy at Alcorn. My parents only accepted my absolute best all through elementary, middle, and high school. Making excuses or half doing something was never an option.”

Receiving her degree Saturday during the University’s Commencement Exercise is a testament to the Stonewall, Louisiana native’s determination. During her undergraduate years, Jones thrived in academics, as she was named a Dean’s Scholar five times. She also shined as one of several student body leaders when she was voted the junior and senior class vice president on the Student Government Association cabinet.

In addition to being an academic scholar and student leader, Jones followed in her dad’s footsteps of becoming a student-athlete. Before graduating high school in 2017, Jones became dedicated to playing soccer and perfecting her craft. Her goal was to get a soccer scholarship from the University. Her hard work paid off.

“My dad was on Alcorn’s track team in the early 80s, and he has always talked so fondly of his years at Alcorn. I knew since the age of 12 or 13 that I wanted the same experience. As a soccer player, I wanted to work on my game so that I could earn a scholarship to Alcorn. It meant so much when my dream became a reality in 2017.”

After successfully securing a soccer scholarship, Jones was on her way to accomplishing one of her goals. Everything was going fine until test results from a routine checkup revealed that Jones was diagnosed with stage IV lupus. She, along with her family, was surprised by the news.

“My family never thought that I would experience any health issues, so when I received a diagnosis of stage IV lupus, we were stunned. Getting accustomed to heavy medications twice a day and the side effects were the challenges I faced. My mother, who was diagnosed with congenital kidney disorder in her teens, began dialysis five months after my diagnosis, so my family had to adjust to a new normal. While facing my health issues, I assisted my dad in taking care of my mom. It’s ongoing, but with God’s help, we’re seeing it through.”

The easy way out was to quit, but thanks to the encouragement of Jones’s dad and her determination to finish her education, she stayed on her journey.

“My mother became concerned with me being four hours away from home with this diagnosis, but my dad gave us a pep talk. He told us everything would be fine, and that God would work everything out. Even though I have had physical obstacles and explained my illness to some, I knew obtaining my degree from Alcorn was my goal. Quitting was never an option or a consideration.”

Overcoming the effects of having an autoimmune disease while being a college student taught Jones that her courage and determination are unmatched.

“I’ve learned that I am resilient and favored by God. Even though there have been many days where I was tired, scheduled for labs and follow-up tests, or dealing with the effects of my illness, I can still inspire others. I can still motivate others by what I’m still able to accomplish through perseverance and Christ shining through me.”

Nothing could have stopped Jones from having a memorable student experience at Alcorn. She’s grateful for the good times she’s had and the family she’s gained.

“My experience at Alcorn has been phenomenal. I’ve learned so much about myself and have made lifelong friendships with other students. The special connections I’ve made with staff members have been exceptional, and I plan to keep those relationships alive. I was a candidate for the 94th Miss Alcorn campaign, and one of my platform points was making lasting connections. I truly believe in that concept.”

Jones is days away from walking across the commencement stage to receive her degree. After graduation, she will begin pursuing a master’s degree in educational leadership at Louisiana State University (LSU) while being a middle school teacher. She hopes that her story will serve as inspiration for others to achieve excellence no matter the circumstances.

“It feels surreal. I’m beyond excited to have completed the journey I started four years ago. I hope to inspire the next generation of young people to accomplish their goals no matter the obstacles they may face. See it through.”

Founded in 1871, Alcorn State University is the nation’s first public, historically Black, Morrill land-grant university. Alcorn State offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in more than 50 top-degree programs. Located on 1700 acres in Lorman, Mississippi, with branches in Vicksburg and Natchez, the University is celebrating 150 years of academic excellence. In addition to its generous scholarship opportunities, Alcorn has earned nationwide recognition in nursing, biology, music, technology, agricultural research, and the liberal arts. Outside of the classroom, students are involved in NCAA Division I athletics as well as more than 65 organizations and clubs, including student-run radio and television stations, study abroad, and the 200-strong Sounds of Dyn-O-Mite Marching Band featuring the Golden Girls.