December 3, 2020–10:38 a.m.
For the second year, Rome Middle School has had the privilege and the pride to honor hard-working students as part of the REACH Georgia Program. As the first needs-based mentorship and college scholarship program, REACH Georgia targets students who have the opportunity to be the first generation in their families to attend college, a goal that may have seemed unattainable, until now.
This year, two eighth grade students have been selected as REACH scholars; Makenze Liggons and Jermiya Winston, both 14 years old and both school athletes who plan to continue playing out their passion on the field and the court.
While the official signing ceremony for these scholars is not until March 2021, the two girls said that they are excited about the opportunity to go to college and are feeling inspired to do their best going forward. Liggons and Winston said that along the way they have found inspiration right there in the halls of RMS that helped them get to this point; Winston gave a special shoutout to seventh-grade math teacher, Kristin Hall, while both cited (in unison) their gratitude for the support they’ve received from their Guidance Counselor at RMS, Ayanna Clarke-Daniel.
When it comes to the REACH Program, effort never goes unnoticed. “REACH doesn’t just look at students who have all A’s,” Clarke-Daniel said, “they look at students who have potential.” When considering students for selection, Clarke-Daniel explained that they take into account the level of work a student puts in, the benefit of the scholarship to each individual student, and whether or not this opportunity will take them to the next level.
Components of the REACH Program include a mentorship that lasts throughout the scholar’s high school years as well as utilization of the school counselor as an academic coach, both with the goal of encouragement, support, and guidance along the way.
Eligibility for the REACH Program includes items such as having no crime and/or drug convictions and demonstrating academic promise in terms of grades, attendance, and behavior.
The first group of RMS REACH Scholars are now in ninth grade. Clarke-Daniel said she looks forward to seeing those five students graduate and watching the efforts of REACH Georgia come to full fruition within the Rome City Schools community.