A ceremony was held on Tuesday, Oct. 3 for six Dalton Middle School students committing to be a REACH Georgia Scholar, which stands for Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen. The students making up the second class of scholars for Dalton Middle School are Damian Medina, Elliot Miller, Astrid Villatoro Martinez, Yuliana Maldonado, Lina Olvera-Jones and Paco Francisco.
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.
Seventh grade teachers nominate 7th grade students who have academic promise, 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 promised extraordinary opportunities.
Ricky Long with the Dalton Police Department is paired with Francisco; Sanjuana Rodriguez with Kennesaw State University is paired with Maldonado; Sharon Hixon with Dalton State University is paired with Martinez; Eric Rochelle with the Civil Air Patrol is paired with Miller; Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock is paired with Medina; and Vanessa Paluszcyk with Whitfield County Schools is paired with Olvera-Jones.
In addition to a mentor who will invest in the student's life and support their studies throughout their secondary school careers, the scholars also have a designated School Academic Coach to monitor their progress and provide extra support when needed. Finally, upon successful completion of the program and graduation from high school, students are awarded a financial scholarship to be used toward educational costs at a HOPE eligible public or private post-secondary institution in Georgia. The scholarship is spread out over the four years they are enrolled.
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.
More photos from the signing ceremony here: