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Three scholars REACH new heights
From left: Liberty County public school students DaeShaun Gibbs, Manav Patel and Makailah Wilson pose for a picture with their REACH scholarship certificates. - photo by Lainey Standiford

On Oct. 25, three Liberty County School System students signed paperwork which secures them a $10,000 scholarship upon graduation from high school. The students join the ranks of the other 9 REACH scholars in the school system.

REACH stands for Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen, and is the state’s first needs-based mentorship and college preparatory scholarship program, according to Scholars are selected in 8th grade. This year’s scholarship recipients are DaeShaun Gibbs from Snelson Golden Middle School, Makailah Wilson from SGMS and Manav Patel from Lewis Frasier Middle School.

“We have 12 REACH scholars in our program now,” LCSS REACH Coordinator Dr. Kathy Moody said. 

By signing the paperwork, Moody said, the scholars commit to maintaining good grades, behavior and attendance in school. Those that successfully complete the program and graduate are awarded the $10,000 to be used at any two or four-year postsecondary education institutions in Georgia, Moody continued.

Zion Acosta, a 2015-16 recipient set to graduate in 2019-2020, presented remarks to the scholars, encouraging them to continue to do their best.

Al Wright, the Community Investment Consultant at Gulfstream was the keynote speaker. Wright emphasized what a great opportunity this program is, and that opportunities such as this don’t come every day.

“When opportunity comes knocking, open the door,” Wright said. “It’s the door to your future.”

After the official signing, there were plenty of cheers from the audience and board members, including Superintendent Dr. Franklin Perry. 

“This is awesome,” Perry said. “Congratulations to our new REACH scholars.”

REACH scholarships are made possible through the generosity of the community and donors, and through fundraising. Donors include: Dorchester Funeral Home; Georgia Power Company; Gulfstream Aerospace; Joseph Martin Elementary School; Liberty County High School; Panera Bread, St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and Waldo Pafford Elementary.

JMES was recognized as the most successful fundraiser for REACH this year, raising $1,000 for the program, REACH Academic Coach Melaniann Pass said. 

“We were able to support three REACH scholars this year,” Pass said. “We can fund up to five each year, and that’s the goal for next year!”

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