FORSYTH COUNTY — Officials in Forsyth County are taking steps to pick up where a state scholarship leaves off.
During a recent breakfast for Mentor Me North Georgia, a local nonprofit that matches mentors to area students, Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills announced a new needs-based scholarship that will follow in the form of the state’s Reach Scholarship, called Reach 2.
The Reach Scholarship is awarded to eighth-graders who have at least a 2.5 grade-point average and clean discipline and attendance records. They receive a mentor and can receive up to a $2,500 scholarship for four years to an in-state college.
Mills said she was moved after hearing from students who didn’t win.
“There were 13 kids that did not receive scholarships, and I was really worried about the kids that didn’t receive,” she said. “Our county is too good not to do something for the kids that didn’t receive.
“One’s mother said that … when they called she fell on the floor crying, and then she didn’t win and it just broke my heart.”
According to Mills, the county was able to use unspent money from the state.
“We received funds back that weren’t used by [the department of family and children services] from two years ago. We got $16,300,” she said. “Social service met and we decided to leave it in the social service fund. The thought occurred to me that we could use that money and make our program.”
Mills said there was concern that the scholarship wouldn’t be viable on a yearly basis. However, the Forsyth County Sherriff’s Office and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta decided to fund the scholarship in the future.
The 13 students with the Reach 2 will be required to have the same standards as the Reach Scholarship, except they must stay in Forsyth County Schools and will receive $1,000 upon graduation.
“It is much bigger on the state level, but it was a way that we wouldn’t leave kids out,” Mills said.