Wednesday more than 100 Georgia middle and high school students became REACH scholars. The needs-based program gives each recipient a $10,000 college scholarship. Gov. Nathan Deal came out to congratulate Fulton County’s winners.
Deal reminded Fulton County scholars they have to continue working to keep their scholarships.
“This contract that you will sign will embrace many of the elements that will keep you on the path to success: to be able to keep your grades at acceptable levels, to make sure you don’t get in trouble, involved with things that will be a detriment to your future,” he said.
Deal launched the REACH program in 2012. Scholars are paired with mentors and academic coaches to help them meet the program’s requirements.
The Fulton County schools set up their ceremony to look like a college signing day for athletes. Surrounded by family, the eight students signed their contracts one at a time.
“People should be celebrating these kinds of accolades,” said Fulton County Superintendent Robert Avossa. “Of course, we love our athletes, but academics is what’s going to change this world.”
Students also had to meet certain criteria to qualify.
“The part, I think, that stands out for most people is that the kids would be first-time college goers in their family, that they had demonstrated academic success, they have teachers who believe they have the ability to work hard and stay with it and that their families were committed to sticking by this contract,” Avossa said. “This is a big deal.”
Sara Rahimpour is REACH recipient and an eighth grader at Taylor Road Middle School. She wants to attend Georgia Tech and UCLA.
“I want to be an animal biologist and study animals and help them,” she said. “If that doesn’t work out, I’m planning on studying computer design and working for Google or Apple.”
REACH scholarships are accepted at any HOPE-eligible school. Many colleges have pledged to match the scholarship amounts.