Markayla Jones of Gibsland has big aspirations

By Paige Nash 

Earlier this week Southern Arkansas University announced their President’s List for the Fall 2022 semester. This reputable list includes the names of 415 students who earned a 4.0 grade point average. Life-long Gibsland resident, Markayla Quevon Jones secured her spot on that list.  

Jones graduated from Lakeside Jr./Sr. High School in 2020 at the top of her class. She began her first semester at SAU that following August. She chose to attend SAU for a multitude of reasons, but number one being that it was not too far from home.  

Jones said, “Southern Arkansas University was the perfect balance of being close and far enough away from home. I often miss my family, so it’s very easy for me to travel home when I can.” 

She is currently a junior majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology.  

“I have always had a passion for helping people in some way. People make mistakes and fall off the rails for many reasons and often they have a hard time trying to pick themselves up with no support,” said Jones. “I always hoped I could one day be that helping hand for someone and somehow make it into a career.” 

Through her studies she has discovered just the role that would allow her to assist and support those within her community when they need it most.  

She said, “I knew I did not want to be a police officer, but something in the related field, so I decided that I wanted to pursue a degree in criminal justice in hopes of one day becoming a probation/parole officer.” 

Her minor in psychology will allow her to better understand and connect with those she is trying to help on a deeper level.  

I think it would help me build an understanding of an individual’s mind- what they think, how and why they do things,” said Jones. “I believe that there isn’t one person on this earth whose mind is completely identical to another’s. By building an understanding of another’s, it might build insight and understanding to your own mind and your way of thinking. 

Jones is projected to graduate from SAU in 2024 and plans to return to her hometown of Gibsland directly after graduation and immediately apply for the police academy, where she will continue to work hard to achieve her dreams and goals.  

Jones plans to follow the advice of her grandfather, Roger, and father, Marketris, to branch out of her hometown, to pursue new opportunities, be greater and go further than they could. 

“Yes, I plan to go outside of my hometown and leave Louisiana someday, but I will never forget where home is,” said Jones. “Gibsland is where I was raised and molded me into who I am and the woman I am becoming, and I’ll never forget that.”

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