Five Crisp eighth graders earn $10,000 scholarships

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, March 2, 2021

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By Gabe Jordan

Dispatch Reporter

Five eighth graders at Crisp County Middle School have each been awarded $10,000 scholarships for their college or university studies as part of the statewide Realizing Education Achievement Can Happen (REACH) program.

The five REACH scholars from CCMS are Kemari Wilson, Avery Anderson, Zymirion Newson, Kaitlynn Smith and Kymari Brown.

“Each one of them has a career goal, which is something that we don’t always see in the eighth grade,” said Dr. Hope Sowell, CCMS’ professional school counselor and graduation coach. “They know exactly where they are and where they are going. Each kid has a story. At the end of the day, these children really are an asset to our society. ”

Since the program’s launch in 2012, the REACH Georgia Program has nearly 2,400 students participating and serves 154 school systems, according to REACH’s website.

This year’s REACH program almost didn’t happen, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but a single donor came through at the last minute to fund the entire year’s statewide scholarship package, Sowell noted.

REACH Scholars have committed to follow a rigorous educational path to be eligible to receive their scholarships upon graduation. They are currently minding the ABCs of nationally recognized early success indicators, which include:

  • Attending school regularly
  • Maintaining good behavior
  • Preparing to succeed in post-secondary school as reflected in good course performance

Additionally, REACH scholars have experienced the power of advocacy in meeting regularly with their mentor and academic coach.

To date, REACH Georgia has graduated four classes of high school seniors. The graduating classes of 2017~2020 consist of 278 scholars. These students have had an average final GPA of 3.3 and 71% of the scholars were eligible to receive either the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship in addition to the REACH Georgia Scholarship.

Today, REACH serves 154 school systems across Georgia and nearly 2,400 Scholars, committing over $24 million in scholarships.