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Putting College within REACH; Bulloch's first cohort of scholars graduates
Posted 5/18/18

After becoming one of five pilot school districts for former Governor Nathan Deal’s REACH Scholarship program in 2013, Bulloch County Schools reached a major milestone for the program in May 2018.  The very first cohort of REACH Georgia scholars graduated from high school and each began their post-secondary education journey this fall.  

This solidified the needs-based mentoring and scholarship program locally and the program will help ensure that our community’s academically promising students have the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school and complete college.  The Bulloch County Foundation for Education provides the funds to sustain the program locally, and is helping put college in reach for 25 local REACH scholars.

The first cohort of scholars was selected when the students were in seventh grade.These five young women went on to achieve honor graduate and even a valedictorian status at their high schools. The school system honored them and their mentors at a special reception prior to graduation. Many of the mentors and academic coaches had been paired with the scholars since middle school.

Each one of the scholars had successfully met the REACH Georgia program's stringent academic, discipline, attendance, and mentoring requirements since 2013. The scholars all plan to pursue post-secondary degrees from public colleges and universities in Georgia.

The Georgia Student Finance Corporation had held their scholarship funds in escrow since 2013, and now each receives their $10,000 REACH scholarship plus $10,000 in matching funds from their chosen Georgia public college or university. Georgia Southern University is one of 11 institutions that double match the scholarship. Combined the scholars will receive $110,000 in scholarships in addition to HOPE.

In Bulloch County the school district’s participation in REACH is underwritten by the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education. The Foundation annually pays the $7,500 seed money investment to the state. In the program’s six-year history, the district has named 25 REACH scholars, but this is the first cohort to graduate. Some of the scholars will be the first in their families to attend college.

These are the 2013 Cohort of REACH Georgia Scholars who became Bulloch County’s first scholars to graduate in May 2018.

Amaya Brown – Statesboro High School 2018 Graduate; daughter of Michael & Tamika Brown; plans to attend East Georgia State College and major in Nursing; Mentor is Mildred Wilson and academic coach is Ashley Thompson.

Da'Neshia Jones – Southeast Bulloch High School 2018 Honor Graduate; daughter of Linton & Demetres Jones; plans to attend Kennesaw State College and major in Biology (pre-med); Mentor is Renee Perry and academic coach is Concella Holder.

Amonica Kirkland – Portal Middle High School 2018 Valedictorian and Honor Graduate; daughter of Benita Palmer and Gary Kirkland; plans to attend Wesleyan College and major in Pre-Dentistry with a minor in Spanish;  Mentor is Cheri Wagner and academic coach is Jennifer Yates.

Kailana Low – Statesboro High School 2018 Honor Graduate; daughter of Leihua Low-Turner; plans to attend Georgia Southern University and major in Early Childhood Education; Mentor is Lauren Amason and academic coach is Dr. Alissa Sasser.

Aisley Scarboro – Portal Middle High School 2018 Honor Graduate; daughter of Tan Frison; plans to attend Georgia Southern University and major in Exercise Science; Mentor is Chianti Culver and academic coach is Joe Bettinger.