Eleven Fulton County eighth-graders have signed commitments to graduate high school and accept a $10,000 college scholarship funded by the REACH Georgia program.
The event featured the students as well as Fulton County Schools Superintendent Jeff Rose, Fulton school board members, Fulton Education Foundation board members, principals, counselors, graduation coaches and other district leaders. The Fulton Education Foundation is a proud sponsor of Fulton’s REACH Georgia program and is providing financial assistance to aid the students’ success.
Launched in 2012, the REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Georgia program is a needs-based scholarship designed to promote academic success and expand access to higher education. More than 350 students across Georgia in 69 school systems are signing contracts for the 2016-2017 school year, including these 11 Fulton students:
Brandon Bermudez-Bolivar, Holcomb Bridge Middle School
Brandon once tried to build a robot to help around the house, but says he failed at it because he never finished the project. That lesson now has inspired him to become a computer programmer, teaching him that he must work harder, and with more diligence, to accomplish his goals.
Helen Harden, Woodland Middle School
Helen is inspired by the legal profession and desires to attend Mercer University and obtain a degree in Family Law. She hopes to then practice law in South Carolina.
Se’Dazia Harris, McNair Middle School
Se’Dazia loves to cook and looks up to her aunt because she has a doctorate, a house, and owns her own business. She wants to someday become a professional chef and attend college where she can study culinary arts.
Trinity Henry-Jack, Sandy Springs Middle School
Trinity loves to volunteer and says that she hopes someday to be wealthy and make her world a better place by giving to charities, making new laws, and giving people a new look on how the U.S. should be. She’s not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but knows that higher education is the ticket to her future.
Lisa Lewis, Woodland Middle School
Lisa looks up to her grandmother because she is a compassionate person who helps anyone she can. This strong sense of family is what is motivating her to go to college and study technology, possibly earning a master’s degree. She wants to get a good paying job that will support her and her family.
Abdul Mustafa, Paul D. West Middle School
Abdul likes superheroes and says he wouldn’t mind having superpowers so he can help others. Someday he hopes to become a surgeon – a special kind of hero with medical powers. The REACH Scholarship will help him achieve his dream by funding many of his college expenses.
Nina Pates, Bear Creek Middle School
Nina is inspired by those who help others and wants to someday become a pediatrician so that she can help children and babies stay healthy and treat their illnesses.
Victor Hugo Pedroza Carrasco, Renaissance Middle School
Victor wants to study genetic engineering when he goes to college, ultimately helping millions of people through genetic research. His teachers describe him as the ideal student – self-motivated, resourceful, responsible and goal-oriented as well as smart, respectful and inquisitive.
Skylar VanOrden, Northwestern Middle School
Skylar is very driven and in her young teens already know that she wants to write and publish books, complete her education, and establish an enjoyable and steady career. A family friend describes her as intelligent, curious, naturally empathetic and with unique motivation to accomplish goals.
Miriam Zetina-Hernandez, Ridgeview Middle School
Miriam is proud of her self-esteem and the perspective she has on the world as a Latina female. She volunteers with community groups to help younger Latino children learn about the opportunities available to them in school. She’s not sure yet want she wants to become when she grows up, but she knows she wants to have a life-changing career that helps others.
Devonnia Willis, Renaissance Middle School
Devonnia is proud to be a REACH Scholar because of the support it gives to students, like her, who want to attend college but may not have the financial resources.
“This is a very happy, emotional day for everyone. These students will be the first in their immediate family to attend college and earn scholarships that would allow them to graduate debt-free,” said Superintendent Rose. “As an educator, I couldn’t be more proud of these students for pushing themselves to work harder, achieve their potential, and reach their goals for a successful future.”
As a part of the program, the students signed contracts to maintain a certain grade point average, remain crime, drug and behavior issue free, and meet with a volunteer mentor until they graduate from high school. Their parents or guardians also signed contracts to support their student through their education. When these scholars graduate from high school, they will receive up to a $10,000 scholarship – $2,500 each year for up to four years – to be used at a HOPE eligible college. Many colleges are matching this scholarship and some are double matching the scholarship, providing scholars addition resources for their college education.
REACH Georgia is a key component of the Governor Deal’s Complete College Georgia initiative, which calls for and identifies strategies for the state’s public and private colleges to add an additional 250,000 college graduates by 2020 and ensure these students graduate with relevant postsecondary degrees in a timely manner.