School System Celebrates REACH Fellows | Local News

MOULTRIE, Ga. – The Colquitt County School System has announced its class of 2021-2022 REACH Scholars.

The REACH (Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen) scholarship is a needs-based mentoring and scholarship program that begins in eighth grade, according to the event program.

Alexis Barge Jr., Emanuel Buena-Tepetate, Samir Davis, Zachariah Palmore, Yoahlibeth Perez-Martinez and Na’Ryan Sumlin have all been nominated for this year’s scholarships. Students will be matched with a mentor and an academic coach through high school, according to Angela Hobby, the school system’s communications manager.

“After graduating from high school, scholarship recipients receive up to $10,000 in scholarships to be used at Georgia HOPE-eligible two- or four-year colleges. Some colleges have pledged to double or triple the scholarship for REACH scholars,” Hobby said.

The ceremony took place Monday morning at the Board of Education Chambers. Cathy Nobles, REACH Academic Coach, introduced each of the researchers after Superintendent Ben Wiggins’ keynote address.

“Every student here has worked hard. We are extremely proud of you,” Nobles said.

Each student was taken to the front to be recognized. After the recognition, the students and their parents signed a contract. This contract outlines the stipulations that students must adhere to throughout their remaining primary education. Students are committed to maintaining a minimum of 2.5 GPA or higher, having “good” attendance, having no discipline issues, and meeting with their academic mentor monthly and academic coach monthly. Parents should also stay in touch with the mentor and coach to ensure students complete the program.

Principals Jim Horne of Willie J. Williams Middle School and Fred Smith of CA Gray Junior High School spoke inspiring words for the scholars.

“It’s not about what you know or who you know. It’s about who knows you,” Smith said. “Right now we all know you, and I’m sure many more people will know you. Congratulations, scholars.

Wiggins said in an interview after the event that the commitment made by these students now speaks to their accomplishments.

“It’s a wonderful achievement. It really speaks to what the students have done educationally and to current and past teachers and even their future teachers. It is a great partnership between parents, students and our teachers and staff. This is a great day for these students,” said Wiggins.

The program is currently in its fifth year and next May will see the graduation of the first REACH class.

“It’s a great program. I think the State of Georgia was very wise in implementing this. We have wonderful business sponsors and individuals within the community who fund this REACH scholarship. We are indebted to this community and to individual sponsors,” Wiggins said in the same interview.

Jeremy S. McLain