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Program encourages young scholars to stay the course
Dawson County School Superintendent Damon Gibbs, far left, congratulates eighth-grade REACH scholars Swayde Stephens, from left, Meadow Caswell, Dylan Swaite, Scout Fisher and Max Hodgson for their achievement in being accepted into the program. Also present was Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville), who attended for Gov. Nathan Deal. - photo by David Renner Dawson County News

Dawson County's young scholars are getting a chance from the state to continue their education after high school.

The Dawson County school system held its inaugural Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen (REACH) signing on Sept. 23.

"Dawson County is only one of 41 school systems out of 180 that are participating in the Georgia REACH program," said Dawson County School Superintendent Damon Gibbs. "We're excited for our inaugural class."

Chosen for the program in eighth grade, the students are given a $10,000 scholarship for any in-state, Hope-eligible college, providing they maintain a 2.5 GPA throughout high school.

"The program funds five, $10,000 each year," Gibbs said. "Next year, our system will use community support to match funding, but this year it's all from the state."

This year, two students from Dawson County Middle School and three students from Riverview Middle School were chosen for the program.

"I was shocked I was accepted into the program, because my grades are okay, but not great," said Riverview Middle School student Meadow Caswell. "I'm really excited that I can afford to go to school. I want to do something either with computers or engineering."

Present to award the scholarships and represent the state was Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-Dawsonville).

"Gov. [Nathan] Deal wanted me to express that he is sorry that he could not be at the event, but that he was proud of Dawson County for its educational effort," Tanner said. "Both he and Mrs. [Sandra] Deal appreciate the interest and energy in this program."