The Inky and Allison Johnson Foundation has awarded the 2015 Overcoming Adversity Scholarship to Jakayia (“Kay Kay”) Fain, graduating senior at Fulton High School in Knoxville, TN. Fain was encouraged to apply for the scholarship by Project GRAD Knoxville College/Career Access Coach Justin Long. Fain, the second of seven siblings raised by a single mother, began playing basketball as a child to escape the harsh realities of public housing. Despite the tragic death of her mother two days before her 16th birthday and a torn ACL, Fain was determined to finish strong. She returned to basketball, was named All-District and All Region MVP and will graduate with honors on May 13.
The Johnsons established the Overcoming Adversity Scholarship to recognize a student who has exhibited determination to push beyond great adversity in the pursuit of education. Inquoris “Inky” Johnson was injured when a routine tackle turned into a life-threatening injury. Despite a paralyzed right arm, daily pain, and constant physical challenges, Inky obtained a master’s degree in sports psychology from the University of Tennessee. He is an inspirational speaker and mentors athletes and youth. Johnson and wife Allison reside in Atlanta, GA.
(Inky and Allison Johnson Foundation)
Read Jakayia’s (Kay Kay) essay:
Overcoming My Adversity
Growing up and being the second oldest of seven children was never easy for me. Coming up we didn’t always have enough, so I started playing basketball to escape the harsh realities of living in the projects. It’s hard watching the things that went on in my neighborhood but I promised myself I was going to make it out. As I grew older more circumstances began to come about and the times got harder. Two summers ago my family got a knock at our door from the police telling us that our mother had just died in a car accident. It hurt knowing two days after the accident my mother wouldn’t see me turn sixteen or see me walk the stage at graduation. Knowing that she wouldn’t be there I just knew I had to step up to the plate and be a positive role model for my brothers and sister, so that’s what I did.
I excelled in the classroom and on the basketball floor until I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was out for nine months. On the road to recovery I told myself I would be my own motivation and nothing would stand in my way. After a very trying junior year I made a dedication to my mom and it was through my basketball career. Since then I have strived to reach every single one of my goals and I have met them. I have all A’s and was named all district and all region most valuable player in basketball.
Everything that I am doing now is for me and my siblings and I refuse to give up on my dreams. Now that senior year is almost over and I get to walk the stage soon, I pledge to finish out strong. I am going to complete this school year with a 3.2 GPA and all A’s. After accomplishing these goals I will further my education at Middle Tennessee State University where I will then major in exercise science and become a physical therapy technician.