Ashley Hall volleyball star Jessica Graham wins $10,000 AAU scholarship
College tuition won’t be quite as painful for Billy and Sherrie Graham, whose daughter Jessica last week was awarded a $10,000 AAU Sullivan Scholarship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.
Graham graduated from Ashley Hall and will be a freshman this fall at Wofford, where she will play volleyball.
Only two Sullivan Scholarships are awarded each year. Cody Ladd of Iowa received the boys’ $10,000 award. The scholarship is named after former AAU president James E. Sullivan, Information on the award and requirements is available online at aauhighschoolsullivan.org.
“I really didn’t think I had a chance,” Graham, who lives in Goose Creek, said this week.
She played volleyball, softball, basketball, soccer and ran track during her high school years.
So which sport was her favorite?
“In high school, it would always change with which one I was playing the most at that point,” she said.
In addition to being involved in athletics year-round, Graham maintained a 4.0 grade point average and was involved in community activities that included volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House, the MUSC Children’s Hospital and Special Olympics.
Graham said she has attended many award ceremonies, but not as the award recipient. She was excited when she received an email informing her that she was a finalist and inviting her to the AAU event in Orlando. Almost immediately after that news, she received word that she was the winner.
Graham, who has earned all-conference and all-state honors in volleyball, competed at the AAU level for six years.
She reports to Wofford Aug. 9 with the team beginning its season Aug. 24. Graham plans to major in pharmacy.
Wendy Anderson, who coached Graham on the Mount Pleasant Volleyball Club traveling team, said she will have a big impact at Wofford.
“As a person, she has a lot of great qualities,” Anderson said. “You can play her anywhere. She goes out and gets the job done. She is such a good leader.”