Eighth-graders sign REACH scholarships at BHS ceremony

Published 10:11 am Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Seven eighth grade students became REACH Scholarship recipients during a signing ceremony held at Bainbridge High School on Wednesday, November 29.  The REACH scholars for 2023 are Kevin Barrios, Irayona Boyge, William Garcia, Ethan Harper, Susana Mendoza, Miguel Raymundo-Gonzalez, and Bryson Ross.

Students, along with parents and the school system, signed a REACH Commitment form pledging to maintain good grades, behavior, and attendance so that they can receive the $10,000 scholarship after graduation.  REACH stands for “Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen” and is a needs-based Georgia scholarship program begun in 2012.  Statewide there have been over 900 graduates with 4300 active scholars.  Decatur County Schools has been participating in REACH since 2015 and eleven successful graduates have enrolled in college and received the scholarship.   With the addition of the seven new students, Decatur County Schools now has 29 REACH scholars in grades 8-12.

A unique part of REACH is that students are selected in eighth grade and provided a mentor and academic coach to ensure that they remain in good standing in order to receive the scholarship after graduation from BHS.  The scholarship may be used at two-year or four-year colleges or technical schools in Georgia.

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At the ceremony, Superintendent Boyd English congratulated the students and encouraged them to feel proud of being selected for this great educational opportunity.  Bainbridge High School Principal, Christopher Merritt, and Bainbridge Middle School Principal, David Kirkland, led the signing ceremony for students and parents.

Kathy Varner, REACH Coordinator, shared that the program guidelines require that the community also support the students, families and school system.  A portion of each scholarship must be raised locally and Decatur County Schools is fortunate to have ongoing sponsors:  First Port City Bank, Monica and Scott Ewing, Envision Credit Union, and The Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Foundation. She expressed gratitude for the sponsors, selection committee, mentors, academic coaches, and other supporters of the REACH Scholarship Program.

If you have questions about the REACH scholarship program in Decatur County Schools, or have interest in becoming a mentor, please contact Kathy Varner at kvarner@dcboe.com