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DCJHS celebrates five REACH scholars at signing ceremony
REACH 2021-22
Dawson County Junior High School Principal Brody Hughes stands with the district’s 2021-22 REACH scholars during the REACH signing ceremony on Oct. 15. - photo by Erica Jones

On Friday Oct. 15, Dawson County Junior High School hosted a signing ceremony for the school’s five 2021-22 REACH scholars. 

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Students and their parents sign contracts committing to satisfying the REACH program requirements and graduating high school during the 2021-22 REACH signing ceremony on Oct. 15. - photo by Erica Jones

The REACH program, which stands for “Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen”, is a needs-based mentorship and scholarship program that aims at helping academically promising students achieve their educational goals. Beginning in middle school, REACH scholars are provided with the financial, academic and social support they need to graduate from high school and have access to college.

This year’s REACH scholars are Elizabeth Chameli, Ginneth Navarro, Sinue “Tito” Ramirez, Jesus Sadoval and Taylor White. The REACH scholars and their parents attended the signing ceremony, listening to remarks and encouragement from school administrators. 

To become REACH scholars, the five students were nominated by their teachers or administrators, completed applications and interviewed in front of a panel before being selected to represent Dawson County. Through the REACH program, they will have the potential to earn $10,000 each in scholarship money to be used at any Georgia, HOPE-eligible institution, many of which have previously matched or triple-matched the scholarship amount. 

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REACH Coordinator Nathan Hand talks about the REACH program to assembled students, parents and faculty members during the 2021-22 REACH signing ceremony on Oct. 15. - photo by Erica Jones

REACH Coordinator Nathan Hand talked about the REACH program during the ceremony, explaining that the school’s REACH scholars must satisfy a list of requirements in order to receive the scholarship money. 

“REACH scholars must commit to maintaining good behavior, attendance, and high academic standards throughout their junior high and high school experiences in order to remain eligible for the REACH scholarship when they graduate,” Hand said. “Each scholar agrees to meet with their mentor and academic coach monthly to develop their goals and discuss career and educational success.”

According to Hand, the goal of the program is to help students be successful through the rest of junior high and high school and throughout college and to be able to join the workforce as a successful member of the community. 

“Ideally, we’d like for our students to be successful, go off and graduate college and come back and join our Dawson County community and join the workforce, so that’s the ultimate goal,” Hand said. 

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Assistant Superintendent Nicole Lecave addresses students and their parents during the 2021-22 REACH signing ceremony on Oct. 15. - photo by Erica Jones

Assistant Superintendent Nicole Lecave addressed the REACH scholars and their parents during the ceremony, congratulating them for being chosen to be a part of the REACH program. 

“There are 2,400 REACH scholars in the state of Georgia and $24 million has been committed to these students, so today when you sign your commitments you’re becoming a part of that very elite group,” Lecave said to the students and their parents. “Today you are investing in your future and you’re taking advantage of an awesome opportunity.” 

Lecave told the students that she and the rest of the school administration are very proud of their accomplishments and that they can’t wait to see what the students go on to do next. 

“I wanna encourage you to make good decisions, to work hard, and to ask for help when you need it,” Lecave said. “We are extremely excited about the great things you’ll accomplish as you go through high school and also as you go to college.”

At the end of the ceremony, all of the scholars and their parents signed contracts committing to satisfying the requirements of the REACH program and graduating high school.