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Bulloch Names 2017 REACH GA Scholars
Posted 11/7/17

REACH Georgia Logo

Foundation’s support of state program makes college possible for 25 local youth


Bulloch County Schools (BCS) will honor six new REACH Georgia Scholars at a signing ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 5:00 p.m., at the Board of Education’s central office. Each scholar now has $20,000 to fund their post-secondary education thanks to local financial support from REACH Georgia, the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education, and matching funds guaranteed by Georgia colleges and universities. Bulloch County Schools was one of five pilot districts for the program beginning in 2013, and the system has now named 25 total scholars with a total of $500,000 earmarked to invest in their future college and career success.


Chosen from hundreds of eligible, eighth-grade applicants, the students, and their families, will be recognized by Superintendent Charles Wilson, members of the Board of Education and Dr. Deborah Mangrum, the program’s local coordinator. Members of the Bulloch County Foundation for Public Education (Foundation)’s Board of Trustees will also be on hand for the ceremony.  


This year’s REACH Scholars are the following: Jordan Glover and Camilla Williams of William James Middle School; Kiara Raymond of Portal Middle High School; Teresita Mendoza of Langston Chapel Middle School; and Joanna Reyes and Maritza Figueroa of Southeast Bulloch Middle School. Each of the scholars’ parents will be in attendance at the ceremony to pledge their support for the program and encourage their children to keep a college education in focus. 


REACH Georgia is a needs-based mentoring and scholarship program designed to ensure that the state’s academically promising students have the academic, social, and financial support needed to graduate from high school and complete college. The Georgia Student Finance Corporation (GSFC) holds the scholarships for scholars until they graduate from high school. 


Each scholar now has up to $20,000 available to them to attend college. This overall $100,000 investment is made possible by REACH Georgia, the Foundation, and local post-secondary partners, like Georgia Southern University, East Georgia College and Ogeechee Technical College, who have agreed to double-match each of the original $10,000 scholarships.

Opening doors for Georgia youth, who may not have the opportunity to seek post-secondary education due to financial constraints, is primarily why Governor Nathan Deal began the program. “This program is a strategic investment in our students and our state,” said Governor Deal in a statement released by REACH Georgia. 


To be eligible to apply for REACH Georgia, students must meet the following requirements: (1) be currently be in the eighth grade at a participating, eligible Georgia middle school; (2) demonstrate financial need; (3) have legal status in the U.S. (U.S. citizen or legal resident); (4) have and agree to maintain above average attendance and behavior; (5) have grade reports reflecting minimum grades of 75 or better in each core course (2.5 GPA); (6) have and agree to maintain a crime-free and drug-free record; and (7) have the support of a parent, legal guardian, or other committed adult.


Bulloch County Schools notifies eligible students and their parents and asks them to apply. A local committee of community leaders and educators review the applications and select 10 finalists. The committee then conducts face-to-face interviews with the finalists, and selects the winners. 


Bulloch County Schools now has 25 REACH Georgia scholars. All but one of the district’s 20 previous scholars has continued to meet the program’s rigorous requirements. Each one receives mentoring and coaching through middle and high school, as well as opportunities to participate in various programs that will assist them in college selection and admission. The school system’s first REACH GA cohort will graduate from high school this year. Each continues to fully meet the program’s requirements.


As a pilot school system, BCS was originally awarded a total of ten $10,000 scholarships by the state, five for 2013 and five for 2014. The Foundation donates $7,500 annually ($1,500 per student) to help fund the $10,000 base scholarships.  More than 63 colleges and universities in Georgia have agreed to double-match and some triple-match these scholarships. All funds raised (100 percent) for REACH Georgia locally will go to future recipients.