Public PK-12 School District in Dalton, Georgia

Dalton Public Schools News

Six DJHS Students Named 2021 REACH Scholars
REACH Scholars

In a ceremony on Friday, December 3, six eighth grade students from Dalton Junior High School signed the paperwork committing to the Georgia REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) Scholars program. Valeria Alvarez, Jasmin Gonzalez, Allison Lugo Pacheco, Janet Montoya, Donaji Pacheco and Gabriela Ruelas make up the sixth class of Dalton's REACH Georgia Scholars.

Governor Nathan Deal launched the REACH Scholarship Program in 2012 as part of the Complete College Georgia Initiative. The mission of the REACH Program is to increase the academic persistence and achievement of Georgia's most academically promising middle and high school students.

Scholars who successfully complete the REACH program and graduate from high school are awarded a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500/year) that can be used at any HOPE-eligible institution in Georgia. A majority of Georgia colleges are matching or double matching this scholarship. The scholarship is in addition to any other grant or scholarship the student receives.
To remain eligible for the program throughout middle and high school, students must maintain a high GPA, remain drug and alcohol free, have good attendance and behavior and create educational and career plans.

Students are nominated during their seventh-grade year. Students then complete their applications, provide external references and parental commitments, and must finally go through an interview process before final selections are made.

Valeria Alvarez, one of this year’s scholarship winners, said she was completely in shock when she found out she accepted as a REACH Scholar. 

“I couldn’t believe it,” Alvarez said. “I was in shock. I just thought that I wasn’t going to get it, because there were a lot of great people that were up for the scholarship.” 

Alvarez said she applied for the scholarship not only for herself, but for her parents as well. 

“When I found out I started crying tears of joy, and I was with my parents,” Alvarez said. “I saw the look on my parents’ faces and I thought, I am doing this for them. I was just really happy.” 

Although she still has a few years until high school graduation, this scholarship has allowed Alvarez to start thinking about her future career. With the scholarship, Alvarez hopes to go to college, continue to play volleyball at the college level, and possibly study architectural engineering. 

In May 2020, the first class of Dalton REACH Scholars graduated from high school and started their collegiate careers this fall. With the help of their mentors, families and teachers, these students will follow in their footsteps in just a few short years. 


To view the full recording of this year's REACH Scholars Signing Ceremony, click here