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Marietta Middle School's Newest Georgia REACH Scholars

Marietta Middle School Students Yuliza Fajardo, Storee Hallman-McGill, Jermaine McCann, and Mayerlyn Rivera joined a select group of distinguished eighth-graders this week when they were named REACH Georgia Scholars by Governor Nathan Deal.

During a statewide signing event, students were welcomed into the Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Georgia program where they will be paired with an academic coach and mentor throughout their high school career. Upon graduation, each student will receive a college scholarship worth up to $10,000.

Eighth-grader Jermaine McCann is confident REACH will help him reach his goals, “My hope for the future is to be successful in every single aspect of my life, said Jermaine. “I want to be happy with what I do, be paid well in my career, provide for my family, and enjoy life.” Executive Director of Marietta Mentoring for Leadership Marge Kellogg agrees, “The REACH program is an extraordinary opportunity for first generation college students. It provides great motivation to make positive decisions for themselves about college and career.”

More than 60 Georgia postsecondary institutions have pledged to match or double match the scholarships received today by Marietta students. Scholarships must be used at HOPE eligible two or four-year colleges. “Knowing in eighth grade that there is up to $30,000 in scholarship money waiting for you after graduation is a powerful motivator,” said Superintendent Grant Rivera after today’s ceremony. “With one stroke of a pen, the academic and career options for today’s four REACH Scholars were multiplied tremendously.”

REACH is a key component of the governor’s Complete College Georgia initiative, which calls for and identifies strategies for the state’s public and private colleges to add an additional 250,000 college graduates by 2020 and ensure these students graduate with relevant post-secondary degrees in a timely manner. Georgia State Representative Sam Teasley told the crowd that the REACH program was one of the most exciting programs he’s been a part of while in office, “To see the community stand behind our students and support them is nothing short of remarkable.”

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