Nine APS Middle School Scholars Selected for REACH

Atlanta Public Schools has a specific mission to see every student graduate ready for college and career. And while we often think mostly about high school students when thinking about graduation and entering college, we fully live the mission when we think about students in all grades.

Today, we focused on middle school students; specifically nine eighth grade students selected as REACH scholars for the Class of 2024. As REACH scholars, these students along with their families participating in a signing ceremony at Phoenix Academy to commit to continuing excellence throughout their education to earn scholarships to colleges and universities in Georgia.

REACH Scholars from Atlanta Public Schools include:

  • Amir Robinson of B.E.S.T. Academy
  • Jameeya Woods of Brown Middle School
  • Calik Hill of Bunche Middle School
  • Shataira Hightower of Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy
  • Ajoni Douglas of John Lewis Invictus Academy
  • Laiylah Sheffield of Kindezi Old Fourth Ward
  • Alexis Hernandez-Tellez of King Middle School
  • Kelly Abigail Reyes-Cruz of Sutton Middle School
  • Leia Maduakalom of Wesley International Academy

REACH, which stands for Realizing Education Achievement Can Happen, was created in 2012 by former first lady, Sandra Deal, and former Governor Nathan Deal to encourage middle school students to continue excellence throughout their education. I am thankful that Governor Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp have continued the program that not only honors and recognizes student achievement but challenges them to go further … to not only graduate from high school, but to achieve success in college itself.

The program doesn’t stop there. It creates partnerships with families, the community and with Georgia’s institutes of higher learning to ensure the supports are there so our students achieve and find success in both college and career.

Each of these scholars – along with their parents and care-givers – sign a commitment to complete certain obligations and responsibilities in order to complete their work as REACH scholars and earn their $10,000 scholarships. These are:

  • Keep an overall 2.5 (“C”) grade point average
  • Have good attendance
  • Have good behavior and remain drug and crime free
  • Meet with your assigned mentor weekly
  • Meet with your assigned academic coach at least once each month
  • Attend REACH events, meetings and programs
  • Engage in activities to prepare for college
  • Graduate from high school with a diploma
  • Enroll in and graduate from Georgia HOPE-eligible post-secondary institution

The program requires a lot of hard work, but I believe in our REACH scholars. I cannot wait to see how they progress through middle school, high school and into college!

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