FORSYTH COUNTY — Eight local middle school students recently signed on to the REACH Scholarship Program.
Debbie Smith, the Forsyth County school system’s director of student support services, told the Board of Education during its meeting Thursday night that students must adhere to a list of character rules and academic standards to get the money.
“If the students stay with the program for five years with their [grade-point average] above 2.5, remain drug free [and] crime free, maintain good behavior and maintain good attendance then at the end of that five years, when they’re seniors, the state of Georgia will give them $10,000 for scholarship money to attend college,” Smith said.
If the students do stay within the rules of the program, which stands Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen, they can potentially get much more in aid.
“The great news about that is that several of the colleges in this area — [the University of Georgia], Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Georgia Tech — have agreed to match that and in some cases double match,” Smith said. “So they could end up with as much as $30,000 for their scholarship money on top of what HOPE offers them.”
The Forsyth school district was one of just 23 systems selected for the program. It got a late start this year, but will start selecting seventh-graders for next year in the spring.
The system will also start fundraising in the spring, since it must match the state next year.
“Even though the state of Georgia covered the $10,000, next year we will have to supplement that with $5,000,” Smith said. “So we’ll have to find a way to raise money for eight scholarship recipients.”
“We don’t’ have to send all eight, we can just send one or two if that’s all we can fund,” she said. “But I sure would like to find the money to cover eight.”
Middle school students who signed this year included: Emily Flores-Medrano of Lakeside; Josh Schlosser of Liberty; Jaime Barrios of Little Mill; Gisselle Gregorio Miranda of Piney Grove; Brian Stanley of South Forsyth; and Celaret Perez, Marcello Valencia and Melanie Garcia of Otwell.