COLUMBIA COUNTY, GA (WFXG) - Five Columbia County middle schoolers signed contracts on Thursday, Oct. 22, to officially be REACH Scholars.
The REACH program, which means, Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen, was created by Governor Nathan Deal. It’s a mentorship and scholarship program designed to help students reach their goals. Students in 8th grade are selected for the program. Title I and School Improvement Director, LeAnne Gregg, said, “These students are very academically driven. They have dreams and aspirations. They know what they want to do, and now they have not only the financial support to make that happen, but they also have the mentorship and the academic coaching that goes with planning for college.”
The program guarantees each student will receive a total of $10,000 in scholarships for college, as long as they maintain a specific GPA, meet with counselors, graduate from high school and attend a Georgia college after graduation. Although the students are selected in 8th grade, the process starts when they are in 7th. In the spring, they go through a screening and application process, and then are invited for interviews in the fall. After the new REACH scholars are selected, they are surprised at school by the selection committee, their parents and school faculty.
The 2019-2020 REACH Scholars are Maryon Parker, of Greenbrier Middle School, Patrick Cole Liggins, of Grovetown Middle School, Mitchell Moon, of Harlem Middle School, Alacia Johnson, of Lakeside Middle School and Alexys Human, of Stallings Island Middle School. Each of these students have high aspirations in life. Some of their goals include becoming engineers, marine biologists and doctors. Gregg said, “This speaks volumes for the students we have in our school district and really what they see their future as, and how they plan for their future and what they do when they’re driven.”
This is the second year the county has awarded the scholarship. The first year, eight students got the honor. Gregg explains, “The REACH Scholarship is both privately and state funded, so as we raise money, that indicates the number of scholars we identify each year.” The state matches the amount of money donated to the school system. ACHS Insurance, Columbia County Foundation for Children and Travis Gamble donated a total of $25,000 this year.
If you would like to donate to the school system for the REACH program, contact LeAnne Gregg at Katherine.email@example.com.