On Monday, five eighth-graders from Carrollton Middle School were given a life-changing opportunity when they joined the REACH Georgia Scholars program. Their commitment was made possible because of the unwavering support of their families, mentors, and community members.
This marks the eighth year Carrollton City Schools has participated in the statewide initiative. Following a rigorous application process that began in the seventh grade, five students who applied were selected for REACH, which stands for Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen.
CMS Principal Eric Simmons praised the 2023-2024 cohort for its perseverance.
“For some students, the early years of education are not always easy,” he said. “Yet, the individuals we are recognizing today are reflective of the commitment to excellence in which our district firmly believes.”
The REACH Scholars for 2023-2024 are Amelia Beasley, Libbie Cline, Kadyn Gilbert, Kylie Horton, and Christopher Rodriguez Casillas. In a ceremony held in the Trojan Hall of Fame room in the Whitley Morris Field House, the five students in this cohort were recognized individually and, with their parents, signed their commitment to focus on their academics and graduate high school. In return, thanks to state and local REACH partners, each will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship to a HOPE-eligible school in addition to other scholarships and financial aid they may earn.
Cynthia Gomez, CHS graduate and REACH scholar, spoke to the group about how much the program has meant to her upon leaving high school.
“My biggest advice is to not limit yourself to this scholarship but to see it as a door being opened to more opportunities,” she said. “I will forever be grateful for this scholarship and Carrollton City Schools for providing me with the best education and most memorable experiences.”
Jason Sidel, CMS counselor who administers the selection process, said it was challenging to narrow down the selection to the five students chosen.
“These five students are exceptionally worthy of this recognition and honor,” he said. “We are proud of each student receiving the scholarship today and would like to finalize the scholarship award through our signing ceremony.”
Carrollton City Schools Director of Student Support Travis Thomaston said having the opportunity to serve on the selection committee was an honor and privilege.
“Parents and families, I want you to know that your students recognize the hard work and sacrifices you have made before and throughout their lives,” he noted at the ceremony. “They each have a strong desire to make you proud!”
Dr. Mark Albertus, superintendent, closed the ceremony with a promise to the students and their parents of the school system’s commitment to see this REACH class achieve the same level of success.
“Congratulations, REACH scholars, parents, and guardians,” he said. “I challenge each of you to work hard, set your goals high, and never give up — because it is all within your reach.”