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GCSS names five students to 2023 REACH Georgia Scholarship cohort

October 24, 2022

Greensboro, Ga. — The Greene County School System (GCSS) has named five 8th grade students to this year’s class of REACH Georgia Scholarship recipients. TiraJai Heath, Jamari Johnson, Justin Robertson, and Torriah Stinson from Anita White Carson Middle School and Jack Alvarez from Lake Oconee Academy make up the Greene County School System's sixth class of REACH scholars since the school system joined the program in 2017 under the guidance and encouragement of Mr. Tom Kelly, the co-founder with his wife Kathy of the Greensboro Dreamers.

REACH scholars are selected in 8th grade via a rigorous application and interview process and must demonstrate an interest in higher education and a verified financial need. By signing their REACH scholarship commitment papers, the scholars agree to maintain good grades and attendance, abstain from drugs and alcohol, and meet with their academic coaches and mentors regularly throughout high school. Once enrolled in one of the 29 public four-year colleges, 22 technical colleges, or 35 private four-year colleges that participate in Georgia’s REACH program, REACH students must continue to meet attendance and GPA requirements to maintain their scholarships.

The funding for each GCSS REACH scholarship stems from private donations by Greene County individuals, companies, and organizations. Each local donor sponsors a REACH scholarship with a contribution of $1,000, which the state matches with $9,000. Some colleges provide additional financial support to REACH Scholars. When this funding is combined with Georgia’s HOPE scholarship and Federal Pell grants, each REACH scholar could be eligible to receive more than $60,000 to finance a four-year degree at a Georgia college.

Today, working with communities across the state that are focused on student-centered learning, REACH Georgia serves all 180 school systems across Georgia and more than 3,600 Scholars, committing over $36 million in scholarships.

Let’s meet this year’s class of GCSS REACH Georgia Scholars:

TiraJai Heath is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, and her REACH scholarship is sponsored by Reg and Helen Hall. In college, TiraJai plans to pursue a medical degree and hopes to attend the University of West Georgia or an HBCU. In her free time, TiraJai is involved with Carson Middle School FFA as president. She said she looks up to her agriculture teacher, Alyssa Adams, because her way of teaching shows that she truly cares: “She is always there for me, no matter the circumstances.”

“This student will excel at anything she sets her mind to,” a reference stated on TiraJai’s application. “She has amazing potential to change the world in her own way.” 

Jamari Johnson is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, and her REACH scholarship is sponsored by the Cobb Family. In college, Jamari would like to attend the University of Georgia because of its diverse community of students, and she plans to study architecture or pursue a medical degree. In her free time, Jamari plays basketball and clarinet in the school band. She is also involved in the After School Program and at the Pete Nance Boys and Girls Club. 

“Jamari will do wonderful things in college as well as after college, and she will definitely succeed at whatever she decides to do,” a reference stated on Jamari’s application. “This opportunity will definitely give Jamari the foundation to help her find out who she is as a person and what she has to offer in life.”

Jack Alvarez is an 8th grader at Lake Oconee Academy, and his REACH Scholarship is sponsored by the Lake Oconee Academy Foundation. Jack plans to study math and science in college. In his free time, Jack plays soccer, football, and trumpet in his school’s band. 

“The potential Jack has for doing great things is within – any financial reward, academic supports, and mentoring will be a true investment in this young man,” a reference stated on Jack’s application. “The opportunities that REACH provides will help Jack increase his confidence, grow his interests, formulate new ideas, and pursue his goals, will allow him to grow into himself.” 

Justin Robertson is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, and his REACH scholarship is sponsored by Brendan and Karin Kelly. Justin plans to attend Albany State University to study criminal justice. In his free time, Justin enjoys playing baseball, attending the Pete Nance Boys and Girls Club, and reading in the peace and quiet of his favorite place, the library.

“Justin has so much potential,” said a reference on Justin’s application. “I feel one of his best qualities is that he’s willing to make any change necessary; he’s willing to adapt through any environment.”

Torriah Stinson is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, and her REACH scholarship is sponsored by John and Judy Rosensteel. Torriah plans to attend the University of Georgia or an HBCU to study psychology and music therapy. In her free time, she runs track, participates in After School Program, and plays bass clarinet in the school band.

“Torriah leads by example, works diligently, is a friend to all, and encourages others,” a reference stated on Torriah’s application. “I believe that this program will help her develop the leadership skills that she already possesses.” 

Congratulations to the GCSS REACH Georgia Class of 2027 scholars!