Fayette Names Its First Georgia REACH $10,000 Scholars
Friday was a great payday for some unsuspecting middle school students when they learned that they were the recipients of a $10,000 REACH Georgia Scholarship.
One by one, eight students spanning across four of Fayette's middle schools were surprised in their classrooms with the news. The students are Carolin Perez-Lozada and Tohidul Islam of Bennett’s Mill Middle; Kya Martin and Katie Johnson of Rising Starr Middle; Skylar Moss, Alexandria Meadows and Alyssa Davis of J.C. Booth Middle; and America Espinosa of Flat Rock Middle.
These eight students are the first group from Fayette County Public Schools to receive college scholarships from REACH Georgia, a state public-private needs-based scholarship opportunity designed to encourage students, beginning in middle school, to continue their educational pursuits beyond high school. The initial award after they graduate from high school is $10,000 over four years, but that amount could increase to $20,000 if they attend a HOPE-eligible college or to $30,000 if they enroll in one of the institutions that will double-match it.
“You have been selected because of your hard work and good behavior. We believe in you and know that you will graduate high school, go on to college or technical school and do great things. You have a whole team behind you to support you and make sure that you are successful. We are very proud of you and what you have achieved,” said Dr. Joseph Barrow, Fayette County Public Schools superintendent, as he personally congratulated each student.
Eligible students are eighth graders who have attained “C” grades or better in core subjects, have good attendance and behavior records, and have proven financial need. Students and their families apply for the program through their school counselors. An advisory panel made up of local business and community representatives interview the applicants and select up to eight winners. The students sign a contract along with their parent/guardian to maintain a 2.5 GPA, remain crime, drug and behavior issue free; and meet with a volunteer mentor and academic coach until they graduate from high school. An official contract signing ceremony for the eight winners and their families will be held on October 23 at the Fayette County Board of Education.
A total of 15 students applied to be part of Fayette’s inaugural REACH Georgia Scholarship group. The advisory panel members who selected this year’s eight recipients are Richard Carswell, BB&T Bank; Kathryn Snow, Eaton Lighting; Kim Schnoes, business/community volunteer; Dr. Tami Morris, A/V Pride; James Vance, NAACP; and school system personnel Dr. Charisse Windom, director of federal programs; Lakisha Bonner; coordinator of counseling and career development; Virginia Gibbs, coordinator of innovative partnership development and Fayette Reach Georgia Scholarship coordinator; and Sam Sweat, director of special projects.
Full funding for the scholarship’s first year is being provided through the Georgia Student Finance Authority. In following years, the school system will seek donations from business and community members to fund half the cost ($5,000) of each scholarship. These donations will be made through the Fayette County Education Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization that solely supports Fayette County Public Schools. All donations are tax deductible. For more information about donating to this program through the foundation, contact treasurer Melinda Berry-Dreisbach via email at berrydreisbach.melinda@mail. fcboe.org or call 770-460-3535. Donations in the form of checks or money orders can be mailed to Melinda Berry Dreisbach, Fayette County Board of Education, 105 LaFayette Avenue, Fayetteville, Georgia 30214. Please indicate on the check or money order that the donation is for the REACH Georgia Scholarship.