Scholarship promotes positivity, hope for answers

Published 9:28 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Quantez Russell’s Scholarship Fund is accepting essay submissions for scholarships that will be awarded to one student at each public high school in Suffolk. The scholarship amount is $500 per student.

The contest is meant to keep Russell’s name alive since he went missing on Nov. 11, 2015. Each student will write a 300-word essay on “how to eradicate gun, drug and youth violence in the city of Suffolk.”

The Suffolk native was a Boy Scout who attended church and played basketball as a Lakeland High School student.

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But he had also become embroiled in dangerous activity after a gang had approached him to become a member at age 13. He would later get into trouble at school and become further involved in guns, drugs and violence in the gang.

On Nov. 11, 2015 his mother Joan Turner received a telephone call. She was told that Russell was “shot and unresponsive” in Newport News, and that was last she heard about her son.

There has not been a sign of him in more than three years since his disappearance. No word has been heard, nor has a body been found. Russell was 30 years old when he disappeared, and his 33rd birthday will be on July 5.

“Dates like that just bring so many memories, good and bad,” Turner said. “The majority are good, but bad when I think about what could have happened.”

Turner and her family continue their search for answers, and others have come forward to help. She recently received word that Russell’s case will be promoted on the Facebook page for the WGN America crime drama limited series “Gone.”

Five missing people will be highlighted in a special online video each week on, and Wednesday this week will feature Russell, along with Trevor Nichols, Victoria Prokopovitz, Morgan Bauer and Jade Humble, according to the email.

“I just hope that all of these people putting out these resources will just grab somebody by their heart and say, ‘OK, I need to give up this information,’” Turner said.

Each application for essay submissions includes a copy of Russell’s story. Turner and her family want this scholarship to show young people in the city how dangerous it is to become involved in gang activity.

“I’m hoping the students will read that but also look at what they feel can be changed in their age group — or even a little bit older — to make our city better and to steer away from that negative stuff. To be a leader and not a follower. To want to do something positive, not negative,” she said.

Students must to fill out an application, meet the criteria and submit a 300-word essay on how to eradicate gun, drug and youth violence in the city of Suffolk to qualify for the scholarship. Each essay should also be doubled-spaced and include a title page.

Applications must be postmarked on or before April 19 and should be mailed to P.O. Box 1521, Suffolk, VA 23439.

The scholarship fund has a committee of current and former educators to look over applications and essays to determine the winners. Turner and her family will not decide on winners themselves.

Contact Joan Turner at 650-8096 or for questions about the scholarship and the application form.

Anyone with information on Russell’s disappearance is asked to contact Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Tipsters can also submit tips through the free P3 Tips mobile app, by going to or by visiting the Suffolk Police Department website at and looking for the Suffolk Crime Line link. Tipsters never have to give their names or appear in court and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.