Franklin teen earns Gates scholarship

Published 10:06 am Friday, July 6, 2012

FRANKLIN—Franklin resident Justin Sumblin knows his grandfather would be proud of him.

That’s because the 18-year-old recently found out he would receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship that will pay for his college up to and through a doctorate degree.

Freddie Sumblin died in December 2010.

“He was more like a father to me and a best friend,” Justin Sumblin said. “He was supportive of anything I tried to do, as was the rest of my family.”

The Appomattox Regional Governor’s School graduate plans to attend George Mason University, where he will study theater.

“I’m going to go as far as it will pay,” he said.

He added that he’d like to start a performing arts center in Franklin.

“I have always felt arts haven’t had enough light here,” Justin Sumblin said.

The son of Lynnora Sumblin and grandson of Earva Sumblin, he attends Touch Christian Church, where he is a member of the worship team. He attributes his success in school to his faith in God as well as his family.

Lynnora Sumblin said she was overjoyed when she found out her son’s college would be paid for.

“I’m positive I burst into tears,” she said. “I wanted him to go to school, but I didn’t want him to have to fund his undergraduate education and have that burden when he graduated.”

Justin Sumblin said he found out about the news while backstage during a school theater performance.

“I’m still almost in awe,” he said. “It’s just a giant relief. Words can’t express it.”

Justin Sumblin, who studied musical theater at ARGS, participated in five productions, including a leading role in “Xanadu.”

He said he’d like to be an actor.