As eight Cobb middle school students sat poised and ready to sign their names to a future $10,000 scholarship opportunity, their families watched on with smiles.

There was a twinkle of pride in their eyes. Many snapped photos. Tears streamed down the face of at least one mom.

The future Cobb graduates were selected for the opportunity to achieve a $10,000 scholarship upon high school graduation. Gov. Nathan Deal launched REACH Georgia in 2012 as a statewide needs-based mentorship and scholarship program. It provides academically promising students who have a demonstrated financial need with the academic, social and financial support to help make their dreams of post-secondary education a reality. The program supports students throughout the entire state.

The official signing ceremony was recently held at the Cobb County School District office to recognize: Jessie Acquah, Andy Lucas and Zuriel Martinez-Galeno, all of Lindley Middle School; William Gallman of Hightower Trail Middle School; Jonathan King of Cooper Middle School; Mia Martin of Palmer Middle School; Jayson Olakanye of Pine Mountain Middle School and Stevenson Vallere of Smitha Middle School.

At the signing ceremony, each eighth-grade student, their families and school district employees entered into a contract to support the student’s efforts to maintain a 2.5 HOPE GPA or higher, continue to have good behavior, school attendance and to meet with a volunteer mentor and academic coach throughout high school.

In addition to their families, students were joined by other members of the school community invested in their success as students, including their school principals, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and members of the Cobb Schools Foundation.

The REACH Georgia program allots eight scholarship opportunities for Cobb students per year. The success of the program depends on community support. For each student, the Cobb Schools Foundation must raise $4,000 and REACH Georgia will match it by 2.5 times for a total scholarship worth $10,000.

The Cobb Schools Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Cobb County School District with the mission of, together, taking student success to new heights.

To learn how you can support Cobb students through the REACH GA program, visit https://www.cobbschoolsfoundation.org/reach-scholarship or call 770-426-3390.

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