Note: The following story appears in the fall issue of Hindsight alumni magazine. For more information about the Hinds Alumni Association, see the website. To apply for a Hinds Community College Foundation scholarship, go to the Admissions tab on college web site at or click here.

PEARL – From a difficult birth into the world to a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome, Sarabian Ross hasn’t had an easy life. His elementary school years, academically and socially, were a series of arduous steps toward a fulfilling life.

“I didn’t even think I was smart enough to be in college,” said Ross, of Jackson, known to his friends and family as Ray. “My mom (Arlisha) and I didn’t know where the money would come from.”

Sarabian Ross

Sarabian Ross

Thanks to a Hinds Community College Foundation scholarship, the student who’s now quick with a hello to his buddies on campus hopes to build on successes he didn’t ever think was possible.

“The scholarship is important to me because I had no idea how I would make it through college,” he said. “So, I’m just feeling very blessed.”

Ross is attending Hinds on the Oscar Richard Ainsworth & Edith Wetzel Ainsworth Scholarship and is on track to graduate in 2018. He’s mapping out his plans for future one day at a time, but he’s impressed by what he’s seen so far in the college’s Animation and Simulation Design Technology program.

“I’ve been interested in animation and how those things came to life since I was a kid,” he said. “Before computers, it was just pencil and paper. I thought that was cool right there. In animation, whenever you build certain characters in 3-D, it starts out with just basic shapes. They’re all made up of polygons. It’s really just like a sculpture, one you have to mold from the polygons into a face.”

Since starting Hinds, Ross is achieving things far beyond what his mom expected. He has landed on the Dean’s List and became part of the Rankin Campus’ Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter, Alpha Omicron Omega.

The classroom setting has been a welcoming sight for both mother and son. His mother works as a school crossing guard for the Jackson Police Department and is completing a degree at Mississippi College. Together, they’ve discovered new study strategies and feel relieved for the help in financing Ray’s education.

“The scholarship was a blessing because it took away the burdens and stress of him coming to school, the cost of the books, things like that,” Arlisha Ross said. “And he has excelled being here.”

Ray says young adults in his situation can make it, provided they have support and help from family, friends and peers.

“I want to encourage people who have autism and have Asperger’s that they can make it to college like I did,” he said. “I got here with the help of my mother, my godfather and my grandmother, who’s no longer with us. What I’d tell them is to have someone around who they can trust, like their mom or a counselor like I have, with whom they can open up about their feelings.”

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