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GCSS names six students to 2024 REACH Georgia Scholarship cohort

Greensboro, Ga. — The Greene County School System (GCSS) has named six 8th grade students to this year’s class of REACH Georgia Scholarship recipients. India Armstrong, Kaden Ferrell, Sydney Ford, Carmen Freeman, and Ja’Mia Greshamfrom Anita White Carson Middle School and Marcus Rhodes from Lake Oconee Academy make up the Greene County School System's seventh class of REACH scholars since the school system joined the program in 2017 under the guidance and encouragement of GCSS REACH Coordinator Mrs. Beth Thomas and 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 REACH scholarship is sponsored with an initial contribution of $1,000 from the community donations, 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 4,300 Scholars, committing over $36 million in scholarships.

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

India Armstrong is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, where she serves as FFA President and has also been the captain of the school’s volleyball team for the last two years. Outside of school, she participates in dance and helps teach Sunday School. Her dream is to attend either Georgia Southern University, Fort Valley State University, or the University of Georgia, and to become a registered nurse. 

“She is one of the best young people that I know,” a reference stated on India’s application. “She is very respectful, obedient, and kind. This opportunity will help India broaden her horizons.”

Kaden Ferrell is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, where he plays basketball, football, and baseball. He also serves on the GCSS Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council and is involved with the Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club. Kaden plans to major in business, marketing, or law and attend either the University of Georgia or Morehouse College. 

Kaden is responsible, honest, respectful, and self-disciplined,” a reference stated on his application. “He takes constructive criticism well and is a pleasure to have as a student. I believe Kaden will value this opportunity and would benefit from it for years to come.”

Sydney Ford is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School. She is a member of the Greene County High School "Invincible Marching Tigers" marching band, in which she plays the alto saxophone. In college, she plans to attend Georgia Tech to study architecture. A reference on Sydney’s application described her as a leader for her peers by setting a good example, hard-working, cooperative, and encouraging with others.

“Sydney is positive and level,” the reference wrote. “She is not easily swayed or provoked. She leads by example with a can-do attitude. She values correction as a learning opportunity and seeks opportunities to improve. I believe that given the opportunity, Sydney will exceed expectations and use this to become influential in her community.”

Carmen Freeman is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School where she participates in track & field and has earned multiple awards for achievement. She is still deciding which college she would like to attend but plans to study business wherever she attends and dreams of a career as an ultrasound technician or real estate agent. 

One of Carmen’s reference wrote that she is a deserving candidate for the REACH scholarship. “Carmen has an eagerness to learn about the world around her. She is self-motivated, respectful to others, and exudes discipline, mindfulness, and self-confidence.”

Ja’Mia Gresham is an 8th grader at Anita White Carson Middle School, where she is a cheerleader. Outside of school, she is involved in the Pete Nance Boys & Girls Club and dance team. Ja’Mia plans to attend Southern Virginia University to study business administration and hopes to be an entrepreneur one day and follow in her mother’s footsteps by owning her own business.

“Ja’Mia is a hard worker and respectful,” a reference wrote on her application. “She is a great student, and I believe the opportunity to participate in the REACH Scholarship program will encourage her to come out of her shell and motivate her.”

Marcus Rhodes is an 8th grader at Lake Oconee Academy where he plays football and is a former school Spelling Bee winner. He also plays piano and plans to go on to study music and social studies in college. He plans to attend the University of Georgia. 

“Marcus has the amazing ability to not only be successful himself, but make others around him successful as well,” a reference wrote on his application. “His willingness to succeed and get better makes it clear in my mind how much this scholarship could help him and the others near him.”

Congratulations to the GCSS REACH Georgia Class of 2028 scholars!