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Two Old Dominion University students who are attending the university after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina, have been awarded relief scholarships by the Tom Joyner Foundation.

While the Dallas foundation was founded by the radio and television talk show host, Tom Joyner, for the purpose of helping students continue their education at "historical black colleges and universities," an additional fund was recently set-up to assist students displaced by Katrina.

Sophomore chemistry major Naquita Edwards and freshman biology major Jason Cromwell, each received $1,000 from the organization. Both students were attending Xavier University in New Orleans before the hurricane.

Cromwell was enrolled as freshman at Xavier University and had only spent three weeks there before Katrina uprooted him and his education. He is a graduate of Western Branch High School in Chesapeake and is currently living at the Monarch House.

Edwards, a Virginia Beach native who attended Ocean Lakes High School, was in her sophomore year at Xavier and evacuated the day before the hurricane hit. Traveling with a fellow student, Edwards fled New Orleans and inadvertently ran directly into the path of rampaging Katrina when the pair drove to Laurel, Miss., and then to Jackson. They ran out of gas and met others headed to Texas in search of flights out of the Bayou. Edwards and her friend eventually made it safely to Dallas, where she finally got a flight home to Virginia Beach.

Old Dominion took in 19 students displaced by the hurricane, waiving out-of-state registration fees and assisting the students in obtaining aid, such as the Joyner grants.

The grants made to Edwards and Cromwell are part of the BlackAmericaWeb.com Relief Fund, which is also providing support to families who have opened their homes to Hurricane Katrina victims, to supplement their personal households as the recovery efforts continue.

This article was posted on: November 8, 2005

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Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.