BHS students sign REACH scholarships

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Five students were awarded REACH scholarships Tuesday at a signing ceremony held at Bainbridge High School.

Jose Cardozo, Cameron Cooper, Reagan Moore, Samuel Haire and Erick Villalobos sat beside their family as they heard inspirational messages from Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Sen. Dean Burke, Assistant Superintendent John Wooden and Superintendent Tim Cochran.

During the signing ceremony, the students, parents, community members and Decatur County School officials pledged to support the students until graduation.

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REACH scholars will receive a $10,000 scholarship to be used at Georgia two-year, four-year or technical colleges. Many Georgia colleges are now doubling the scholarship to REACH students.  A portion of the scholarships must be collected within the community. This year the community sponsors for the scholarships are First Port City Bank, Scott and Monica Ewing, The Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Foundation and Envision Credit Union.

The five 2019-2020 scholars were picked from a group of nearly 30 applicants who were recommended for consideration for a REACH scholarship. After determining eligibility, eight students completed a lengthy application which included both school and community recommendations. Then the students interviewed with the five-member selection committee composed of community members. 

As part of the application process, students were asked to list their career goals and interests.

Jose Cardozo wishes to major in Building Construction Management and is a church alter server.

Cameron Cooper wishes to attend UGA and become a Veterinarian.  His interest is football.

Raegan Moore wants to be a NICU Nurse and is considering UGA, VSU and ABAC at Bainbridge.  She plays the clarinet in the band.

Samuel Haire would like to attend UGA and become an Oceanographer.  He enjoys football, his church youth program, hunting and fishing.

Erick Villalobos plans to attend Emory University and become a Neurologist.  He enjoys bible study and youth activities at his church.

The students will be provided a mentor through Alesia Brinson from 1 On 1 Mentoring. Bainbridge Middle School Counselor Angie Grubbs will become their academic coach and will provide information to the students based on their interests and career goals. Once students arrive at Bainbridge High School, they will be assigned an Academic Advisor/Guidance Counselor and a Cats Connect Teacher who will become the student’s mentor. Both the academic advisor and mentor will remain with the students for all four years of high school and meet regularly.

The students and parents meet several times each year with REACH Coordinator Kathy Varner and various information and programs are shared to ensure that the student is on track both for graduation and meeting the requirements of the scholarship for grades, behavior and attendance.

The Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) Scholarship Program was launched by Governor Deal in 2012 and is a needs-based mentorship and scholarship program designed to encourage students, starting in middle school, to persist in their educational pursuits. Students are provided with the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school, access college, achieve post-secondary success, and be prepared for the 21st century workforce. The five scholars who signed a commitment today join thirteen other REACH scholars at Bainbridge High School. 

The previously awarded scholars are Yuji Cotton, Leigh Sapp, Lawson Chandler, Eliel Lopez, Anala McIntyre, Jamil Tucker, Kursten Branson, Jared Davis, Kevin Ramirez, Robert Foor, Skylar Jones, Thomas Spooner, and LaQuirsten Williams.  Yuji Cotton and Leigha Sapp will be the first REACH graduates this year.