TJC honors seventh group of Rusk TJC Citizens Promise Scholars

Tyler Junior College has recognized its seventh class of Rusk High School graduates to attend TJC on the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise Scholarship.

In February 2014, the James I. Perkins Family Foundation — along with Citizens 1st Bank, Rusk ISD, TJC and the TJC Foundation — established the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise.
The first program of its kind in Texas, the Rusk Promise covers up to two years at TJC for Rusk students who graduate in the top half of their class with a minimum 2.5 GPA. Qualifying students must also reside in Rusk ISD and must have attended Rusk High School for grades 11 and 12.
Graduating scholars received cords to wear at Friday’s TJC commencement, with their colors representing their status as alumni of both Rusk High School (red and black) and TJC (gold and black).
“Of the 13 students graduating, nine are graduating with honors,” said Megan Cumbee Burns, senior manager of TJC scholarships and the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise. “As a group, all students being recognized in this cohort have accomplished a 3.35 cumulative GPA, continuing to outperform their counterparts within the TJC student population in hours and cumulative GPA. This great accomplishment is due to the students’ hard work and dedication.”
The 2022 Rusk Promise scholars are:
• Jordan Booth, graduating with a general studies degree
• Lauren Boudreaux, graduating with a general studies degree
• Ezequiel Briseno, graduating with a heating, air conditioning and refrigeration technology (HVAC/Refrigeration) degree
• Donna Chain, pursuing an English degree
• Mariela Cruz, pursuing an art degree
• Jordan Crysup, graduating with a general studies degree
• Seth Day, graduating with a science degree
• Landon Gates, graduating with an HVAC/Refrigeration degree
• Haylee Gray, pursuing a general studies degree
• Ana Hernandez, pursuing an art degree
• Avery Kinney, graduating with a general studies degree
• Lance Knott, pursuing an electrical/electronic controls degree
• Crystal Martinez, pursuing a pre-nursing degree
• Ariel McClure, graduating with a pre-nursing degree
• Kailee Millsap, graduating with a general studies degree
• Colton Morris, graduating with a general studies degree
• Valeria Olguin, pursuing a pre-nursing degree
• Raquel Rangel, pursuing a pre-diagnostic medical sonography degree
• Naomi Reifel, graduating with an art degree
• Lainey Sprayberry, pursuing a business degree
• Jaheim Upshaw, graduating with a business management degree
• Sarah Wofford, graduating with a biology degree
• Jacob Woodlee, pursuing a general studies degree
“Each student in this cohort has worked tremendously hard over the last two years,” Burns said. “These are our 2020 high school graduates who have had to make the biggest adjustments — from completing their senior year online to starting college virtually as well.”
She continued, “This group has not allowed anything to slow them down in their academic pursuits. They have endured virtual learning, limited access to campus organizations their first year at TJC and worked full-time jobs to support their families. Some have even experienced the loss of family members, along with so many everyday challenges. At no point did any of these circumstances prevent these students from continuing to be successful.”
For more on the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise, go to


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