Board of Education holds REACH scholar signing ceremony

A group of Forsyth County students who demonstrate academic promise and have superior attendance and behavior records recently agreed to keep up their good work at a Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) scholar signing ceremony held Thursday evening at the Forsyth County Board of Education.

REACH, a “key component of Governor [Nathan Deal’s] Complete College Georgia, which identifies strategies for the state’s public and private colleges to achieve the goal of having 60 percent of Georgia’s adult population having earned some type of postsecondary credential by 2025,” is now in its fourth year at Forsyth County Schools.

Deal launched the pilot program in Douglas, Rabun and Dodge County school systems in 2012. It now reaches 103 school systems with nearly 1,200 scholars.

“This program is a strategic investment in our students and our state, opening doors for youth in Georgia who may not have the opportunity to seek postsecondary education due to financial constraints,” said FCS Superintendent Jeff Bearden. “The mission of REACH is to provide Georgia’s academically promising students with academic, social and financial support needed to graduate from high school and college prepared for work.

“REACH became Georgia’s first public-private needs-based scholarship opportunity [and] is locally owned and operated allowing community members to have a stake in student success.”

To be selected as a REACH scholar, teachers and counselors nominate eighth-grade students who have shown themselves to be academically-minded. The students are then asked to apply and provide three references as part of the application process. They are further selected through an interview process.

This year’s eight REACH scholars are: Bryant Morales-Chora, Gheed Nafea, Dallas Shires, Ulises Villagomez, Evelyn Garcia Vega, Michael Evans, Areli Cruz-Rodriguez and Savannah Hott.

On Thursday, each student signed a contract that ensures he or she will keep at least a 2.5 GPA in core courses, have good behavior and attendance through the rest of middle and high school and meet with his or her assigned mentors at least twice a month and an academic coach at least once each month.

The students also agree to attend REACH activities throughout the school year and are committing to graduate from high school and attend college.

Once attending college, the scholars will receive a “significant scholarship” through REACH and Forsyth’s community donors, with the potential for matching from several Georgia universities.

For more information about the program, visit reachga.org/.