Six Dalton Middle School eighth grade students committed to be a Georgia REACH Scholar at a ceremony on October 23. Manuel Apodaca, Jennifer Bibiano, Rena Flood, Alex Mark Long, Chris Orlando Ortiz and Maria Marisa Ramirez make up the third class of DMS REACH Georgia Scholars.
As part of Governor Nathan Deal's 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 "Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen" 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.
"REACH helps our scholars set goals for the future with hope and determination," said Dr. Tim Scott, DPS superintendent. "The scholarship element will help alleviate some of the financial burdens families experience when their children pursue post-secondary education. We are so excited to be a part of REACH Georgia, and I am incredibly grateful for the state and community's support in this program."
Seventh grade teachers nominate seventh grade students who have academic promise as well as good attendance and behavior. Students then complete applications and provide external references and parental commitments. Once the final six nominees are chosen, each scholar is assigned a mentor and a designated School Academic Coach to monitor their progress and provide extra support when needed.
Mentors this year include retired educators Ron and Susan Ward and DMS math teacher Eric Smith.
Parents also play a huge part in their student's education and attended the ceremony to commit to being deeply involved through collaboration, activities, meetings and program events.
"I am so proud of each of the REACH scholars chosen this year. Each of them have worked hard to maintain good grades. My hope for the scholars is that they see this scholarship as an avenue to fulfill their dreams," said Damaris Natola, counselor and REACH Georgia coordinator for DMS. "Whether it is becoming a CEO, an engineer, doctor or veterinarian, I believe in each of these students and their ability to be successful."
More photos from the signing ceremony here: