Basehor-Linwood High School Senior Receives National JAG Scholarship

Mycah Benton, a senior at Basehor-Linwood High School, was announced recently by Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) as one of 35 Kenneth M. Smith Scholars nationwide who will receive $2,000 toward their college education.

The scholarship program honors the extraordinary leadership of Kenneth M. Smith, who resigned last October after 43 years as president and CEO of Jobs for America’s Graduates, Inc.

Benton plans to attend Johnson County Community College, then Kansas State University upon graduation from high school. The senior, who aspires to work in the music or theater industry, was elated by the news.

“I learned I won the scholarship in the middle of Act I of our school play,” Benton said. “I couldn’t be on my phone because I’m backstage crew, but I saw the text during intermission.

“I texted (the JAG staff member) back asking if she was ‘April fools-ing’ me because I didn’t believe her. I felt like I won the lottery.”

A participant in the Basehor-Linwood High School Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) program for three years, Benton currently serves as Career Association vice president for the JAG-K schools in her region.

Her selection for the scholarship came as a surprise to Benton, but it didn’t surprise Jesse Smallwood, JAG-K Career Specialist at Basehor-Linwood High School.

“Mycah is a very hard worker that challenges you as a teacher to make sure you are working as hard as she is,” Smallwood said. “She is very deserving of this scholarship, and I look forward to seeing what she will do in the next chapter of her life.”

As a JAG-K Career Specialist, Smallwood helps students like Benton overcome barriers and graduate high school on time by equipping them with the skills to succeed. Kansas’ 112 JAG programs serve approximately 6,000 students in 47 school districts across the state. Career Specialists help students graduate and learn career, leadership, and life skills by executing a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 38 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, EagleU, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, the JB and Anne Hodgdon Foundation, John Deere, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Royals Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Kohl’s, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of Kaw Valley, United Way of the Plains, U.S. Bank and Walmart.

To learn more about JAG-K, visit, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.