Desiré Jones is currently serving as the 90th Miss Coppin State University. One of her main campaign themes was that Legacy Carries Leaders of Today. Jones wants her legacy to be one of service to her community.
Jones, a senior who will graduate in May from Coppin State University, is the 2022 recipient of the Maryland’s Top 100 Women scholarship. She was selected by the 2022 Circle of Excellence winners. Jones is the 20th student to be honored with the Top 100 Women scholarship, which has awarded $60,000 since 2003.
Jones is going to be a teacher with the Teach for America program in Atlanta, Georgia, following graduation. She’s excited about being part of the program because it helps those who want to teach in a nontraditional way – and don’t necessarily have an education background. Jones, an English major, plans to be a special education teacher for kindergarten to eighth grade.
“I’m going to be able to work with Black and Brown students,” Jones said. “It’s important for Black and Brown students to see people like me in the classroom.
“Being a servant has been so big to me. I’m excited to give back to those students.”
An avid reader, one of her favorite books is “All About Love” by bell hooks. Jones said that she likes self-help books, but this one is her favorite because she enjoys how hooks talks specifically about what love means.
Jones said she sees love as a verb and likes how hooks takes readers on a journey in explaining and learning how you can love and show love to somebody or something. She tries to put her love into the community and helping others.
During school, she’s volunteered with the Maryland Food Bank and also the Salvation Army. She said she is proud of her work with those organizations because she was often packing food that was going to elementary school students and families.
Jones has served as the chair for the Coppin State University Student Activities Programming Board. She’s also been involved in the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Don’t Cav-in Initiative, a dormitory resident assistant and part of the Student Government Association.
In all, Jones has earned more than 300 hours of community service in Baltimore, Philadelphia and her hometown of Sicklerville, New Jersey. Being able to work with students has been the greatest time spent.
“Getting to talk to students, that’s the thing I love the most,” Jones said.
One of the things Jones likes to share with those students is her own education story and to help them see and understand there is a way to continue their education and achieve their goals.
Jones’ journey to Coppin was pretty unique. She applied to just a few colleges and had her mind pretty much set on which one she would attend. But when the school didn’t work with her financially, she scrambled to find other options. Her dad saw a flyer about Coppin and that the application fee could be waived. She ended up applying, got in a few weeks later and then fell in love with the campus when she visited for student orientation.
“I’m from a small (high) school,” Jones said. “I knew I always wanted to be a big fish in a small pond and not just a number in a classroom.”
She’s proud to have found Coppin and the legacy of its namesake Fanny Jackson Coppin, who was the first Black woman to become a principal and later a superintendent of a school district in the United States.
In a letter of support for her scholarship nomination, Coppin State President Anthony L. Jenkins remarked about an interview she gave to the campus magazine “The Talon,” where Jones said, “Education is the fundamental to success and it is achievable. I want to reach as many people as possible. If I can do that, I know I have done my job.”