Being chosen as a REACH scholar is not only an honor, but a responsibility.
Those words weighed heavily in the air as Pat Burd, longtime supporter of the REACH program, addressed Hall County Schools’ six REACH Scholarship recipients during the Hall County Board of Education meeting on Monday, Oct. 28.
REACH Georgia is a needs-based mentorship and scholarship program that starts in the eighth grade.
This year’s Hall REACH scholars are Angelina Jackson of Davis Middle School; Giovani Delgado of East Hall Middle; Jasier Barnes of North Hall Middle School; Marijane See of Academies of Discovery at South Hall Middle School; and Charlie Cantero and Abraham Martinez of World Language Academy.
The REACH Scholarship program is designed to ensure that academically promising students have the proper support needed to graduate from high school and complete college.
Although the students are presented with tools to help them on their academic journey, they have to put in some of their own work.
The scholarship contract requires exceptional behavior and attendance through middle and high school and a 2.5 grade-point average. If the students complete the program and graduate from high school, they’re awarded a $10,000 scholarship that can be used at any HOPE-eligible institution in Georgia.
Until high school graduation, the REACH scholars will have the support and leadership of chosen academic coaches from their respective schools and designated mentors from Center Point.
One by one, each scholarship recipient signed a REACH contract, alongside their family members, mentor and Will Schofield, Hall’s superintendent on Monday.
Before embarking on their path as scholars, they watched a special message from Gov. Brian Kemp.
“Your REACH Scholarship puts you in the fast lane on the road to the future of success,” Kemp said in the video. “I look forward to watching you accelerate into the future.”
Burd, who has served as a counselor in Hall and Gainesville City school systems and has been on the Georgia Student Finance Commission for 17 years, asked the students how being chosen made them feel.
Barnes said he was in disbelief, thinking that they had meant to recognize someone else.
“I was very surprised,” he said.
Cantero shared the same feelings as Barnes. He was the second REACH Scholarship recipient this year at World Language Academy.
“Generally, I was shocked, especially to find out there were two people at my school that were able to be selected,” he said. “I was kind of confused. I was like, ‘Why not him only? Why me as well?’”
Burd assured the scholars that they won’t undergo this new journey alone.
“This community supports you, believes in your potential and is ready to help whenever you need us,” Burd said while gesturing to the teachers, parents and other community members in the room. “You just have to ask.”