November 23, 2021–11:44 a.m.
On Thursday, November 18, two Rome Middle School students were recognized and honored as 2021-2022 REACH Scholars during a special signing ceremony held in the media center.
REACH Georgia is the State of Georgia’s first needs-based mentorship and college scholarship program. The mission is to ensure that Georgia’s academically promising students have the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school, access college, and achieve postsecondary success.
Diana Vicente-Vicente and Kassandra Hernandez, Rome Middle School’s 2021-2022 REACH Scholars, and their parents or guardians were present during the ceremony to sign a contract, thus committing to satisfying the REACH program requirements, graduating from high school, and completing an undergraduate degree or certificate at a HOPE-eligible postsecondary institution.
Beginning in the 8th grade and through high school, REACH Scholars are paired with a mentor and an academic coach, whom they meet with once per week, and academic coach once per month.
Among other requirements, Vicente-Vicente and Hernandez must maintain good grades (2.5+ HOPE calculated GPA), behavior, and attendance to continue to be eligible for the REACH scholarship.
Scholars who successfully complete the program and graduate from high school are awarded a $10,000 scholarship ($2,500/year) that can be used at a HOPE-eligible University System of Georgia, Technical College System of Georgia, or private postsecondary institution. The scholarship is in addition to any other grant or scholarship the student receives.
During the ceremony, guest speaker, Rome High School sophomore and REACH recipient, Nadja Brown addressed the crowd with her experience serving as a REACH Scholar.
“I was one of the first to receive the REACH scholarship and I am still just so very thankful for this opportunity,” said Brown during the ceremony. “The continuous motivation and encouragement I receive through this program is amazing and it has truly helped me to learn how to prioritize my responsibilities and work hard to always ensure I am staying on top of my studies.”
Louis Byars, Rome City Schools Superintendent, then took the stand to conduct the signing ceremony for the students and their parents and or guardians.
“These two students have earned this honor, and we are just so proud to be able to acknowledge these accomplishments here today,” smiled Byars.
After walking both students, their families, and the attending community members through their obligations and responsibilities, the students put pen to paper to become officially inducted as the REACH Class of 2021.
“We are all so proud, and we know that these two bright young ladies will go forward and do great things,” said Parke Wilkinson, Rome Middle School Principal.
“This is just a wonderful opportunity for our Rome City Schools students,” explained Jennifer Perkins, Rome City Schools REACH Coordinator. “These students have the ability to receive $10,000 to put towards their post-secondary education, which is incredible. We are all just so excited about this program, and hope to continue to see its growth in the future.”