VALDOSTA — Both Lowndes County Schools and Valdosta City Schools recognized its REACH scholars, a prestige group of eighth-grade students who will receive $10,000 to any HOPE-eligible college in Georgia.
REACH stands for Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen and was introduced in 2012.
The REACH Georgia Scholarship “rewards students for self-accountability, promotes parent involvement and provides motivation and support; all factors that we know are critical in student educational achievement,” former Gov. Nathan Deal said at the launch of the program.
What sets REACH apart is that scholars are paired with a mentor and an academic coach throughout high school. Scholars must maintain a 2.5 grade-point average in core courses, exhibit good behavior and have good attendance.
Both school systems recognized each student with a brief description of their future goals during their respective ceremonies.
Parents of students were invited to watch as their students signed their REACH contract.
Lowndes County Schools recognized seven scholars in a ceremony held at Rainwater Conference Center.
While only in the eighth grade, each student had a clear view for their future.
Carissa Reynolds is super proud of the opportunity to represent Lowndes County Schools by being a REACH scholar. She looks forward to entering Lowndes High School next year and plans to attend Valdosta State University to become a registered nurse.
Sunshyne Simmons is an artistic student currently in the Lowndes band. Along with her love of music, she loves to draw. She hopes to use her passions in her future profession as a digital artist and teacher of music.
Yesenia Gallegos was awarded the highest grade in math in her class, showing her that she can do whatever she puts her mind to. She hopes to travel the world, have a thriving law practice and one day start a family.
Zanaria Jones is a talented artist and basketball player that was proud to be selected as a REACH scholar. She hopes to play in the WNBA and also pursue a degree in visual arts.
Shayla Scott is a proud academic with good grades in all of her classes. She is in the band and enjoys culinary arts and singing. Her goal is to attend Valdosta State University to study the arts. She hopes to open a bakery.
Jazmyne Abney said her biggest accomplishment is becoming a REACH scholar. She enjoys cooking and baking which allows her to express her creativity. She plans to do dual enrollment at VSU and pursue a degree in biology or chemistry to get her on the pre-med track.
Jaylin Carter is an athlete with a bright personality who is proud to make people around him happy. He plans to attend University of Georgia or Georgia Southern and to start his own clothing brand.
Valdosta City Schools recognized its scholars in a virtual ceremony that was live-streamed on its Facebook page.
Jordan Davis is proud to be a student at Valdosta Early College Academy. He has a good relationship with his teacher and counselor and admires his pastor because of the encouragement he gives to do the right thing. He wants to study biology at VSU and recognizes the opportunities that lie ahead. He is excited about his future
Aiyana Hunter is proud of the work she’s put in to get where she is. She knows she is gaining the ability to shape her own future. She hopes to study literature, different languages and journalism. She feels being a REACH scholar will provide her with opportunities and she aspires to go far in life.
Zamar Jackson is a musician with the ability to play several instruments. He loves being part of the Valdosta City Schools Strings Project. He plans to attend a college with a degree in music. He wants to study music and become a producer.
Kaegan Preaster has already started her own business, Kaegan’s Cakes, through the entrepreneur academy and is known for her sour cream pound cake. She realizes the scholarship will put her on the path of financial responsibility.
Nadia Whitt likes to impact others by helping them and feels a sense of pride when she helps people. She loves participating in random acts of kindness and hopes to carry that into her future field. She wants to attend Valdosta State University for chemistry or biochemistry and wants to make the world a better place through her research.