Five J.R. Trippe Students Sign REACH Scholarship Agreement
Five J.R. Trippe Middle School eighth graders may receive $10,000 scholarships each after signing the REACH Scholarship commitment document at Vidalia High School on Wednesday, November 9.
Luz Maria Alonso-Resendiz, Triniti Hanbury, Dreshiya Jackson, Marley Nichols, and Ja’Niyah Willis all pledged to keep a 2.5 grade point average, have good attendance, remain drug-free, maintain good behavior, and meet with their assigned mentors throughout high school in exchange for a $10,000 scholarship each from the annual REACH Scholarship program. The students’ parents also promised to help the students in this endeavor and to hold them accountable for their responsibilities.
According to Superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox, the REACH scholarship program rewards students for self-accountability, promotes parent involvement, and provides a critical place in student achievement. Students are selected for this scholarship, which is funded by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, through an interview process, and are celebrated annually with a scholarship signing ceremony.
This year marked the sixth year in which the Vidalia City School System has recognized these scholars at the school, totaling 30 scholarships signed and $300,000 pledged to the youth within the community.
According to Wilcox, this annual event is one of his favorite experiences in the school year. “This is one of my favorite days of the year where we are rewarding students, not only for their hard work and academic achievement, but also for their good character, which may be attributed to many of the parents here today,” he said. “These students have obviously made a good impression on administration, and I know they will continue to be successful throughout high school,” Wilcox concluded.
J.R. Trippe Middle School Principal Dr. Sandy Reid also commented on the occasion. “As a mother of two children currently in college, I can really empathize, understand, and value this process and opportunity being afforded to you all. I know at this time in your life, it is hard to wrap your mind around what a $10,000 scholarship will do for you, but it will give you an opportunity and advantage that a lot of people don’t have,” she told the students. “It will help you overcome a barrier that keeps a lot of people from being able to pursue their dreams of postsecondary education right out of high school.”
REACH Scholarship Coordinator and J.R. Trippe Middle School Assistant Principal Michael Johnson summarized the perspective of the students on the event before administering the REACH scholarship oath and signing. “This is a big deal. When I asked [the students] if they were excited on the way over to [Vidalia High School], they told me they were. They have been asking me about this since the interviews, and truly are enthusiastic about the opportunity.”
REACH Georgia is the state’s first needsbased mentorship and college scholarship program, where, beginning in 8th grade, students are paired with a mentor and academic coach to help them remain successful throughout high school. They must abide by the set guidelines of attendance, behavior, and grade point average for all four years of high school, but will then be eligible for $10,000 of scholarship money — $2,500 each year — to use at any University of Georgia, Technical College System of Georgia, or eligible private college within the state.