Five Bulloch County students were awarded recently the REACH Georgia Scholarship, making them each eligible for $20,000 to use for higher education after graduating from high school.
The eighth-graders selected for the scholarship program are Conley Roberson, William James Middle School; Jean M. Delfin Uscanga, Portal Middle/High School; and Chris Angel, Jadon Jones, and Taylor Cone, all of Langston Chapel Middle School, said Hayley Greene, spokesperson for the Bulloch County Board of Education.
“The school system determines a list of eligible eighth-grade students based on their academic, attendance and discipline records and economic need,” she said. “Students must meet strict academic, discipline, attendance and economic eligibility requirements to even apply. The school system contacts these students and their families about the program and invites them to apply to be a REACH Scholar.”
Requirements for eligibility are that students be in the eighth grade at an eligible Georgia middle school; demonstrate financial need; be a United States citizen or legal resident; maintain above average attendance and above average behavior; minimum grades of 75 or better in each core course (at least a 2.5 GPA); maintain a crime-free and drug-free record; and have the support of a parent, legal guardian, or other committed adult, she said.
“The school system puts together a review committee made up of local community leaders and educators to review the applications and select 10 finalists,” Greene said. “The committee then conducts face-to-face interviews with the finalists, and selects five winners.”
All five students selected receive up to $20,000 each to attend college. Both the students and parents are asked to sign contracts agreeing to the terms of the program.
“This $100,000 investment is made possible by funds from REACH Georgia, the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education (which contributed $1,500 per student, a $7,500 total), and local post-secondary partners, like Georgia Southern University, East Georgia College and Ogeechee Technical College who have agreed to double-match each of the original $10,000 scholarships,” she said. “Scholars must attend a Georgia college or university in order to receive their scholarships when they graduate.”
The Georgia Student Finance Corporation holds the scholarships until they graduate from high school.
Bulloch County schools are a “pilot school system” for this program, according to Greene.
“REACH Georgia has provided the funds for a portion of our local scholarships since 2013,
she said. “The Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education has been the sole local sponsor to make up the difference. REACH's goal is for communities to eventually make their REACH programs self- sustaining and totally supported by local funds.”
One hundred percent of all funds raised for REACH Georgia locally will go to future recipients, she said.
More than 63 colleges and universities in Georgia have agreed to double-match and some triple-match these scholarships, she said.
Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.