One’s gift of education
Oct 09, 2012 | 1076 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gov. Bill Haslam holds close to a vision, one he has addressed frequently in public addresses, in many manners of legislative support and in law- and history-making signatures.

It is this, as explained by the Tennessee leader himself.

“My goal is for Tennessee to be the No. 1 location in the Southeast for job growth, and having an educated workforce is a key element to our success,” Haslam has been quoted as saying.

To date, many of his actions have supported such work expansions and he continues to look for community partners who are willing to hop aboard the bandwagon for education. He found such a partner last year in the Cleveland and Bradley County community.

Modeling its origin from the existing tnAchieves program, Cleveland businessman and philanthropist Allan Jones in 2011 launched a similar concept called bradleyAchieves. In its first year, the farsighted initiative paid for the enrollment of 175 graduating seniors from our three area high schools into Cleveland State Community College. The concept was simple: Provide the financial means for a postsecondary education for any Bradley Central, Cleveland or Walker Valley high school graduate who wants to attend college but whose parents can’t afford the added expense.

To show commitment to the intent behind the scholarships, made possible by the Allan Jones Foundation, the incoming CSCC freshmen must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade-point average, agree to giving eight hours of community service and show a willingness to work with an adult mentor whose role is to show support and guidance while lending advice as needed.

The program was a huge success in its inaugural year and it quickly caught the attention of the governor.

“I am proud of this program (bradleyAchieves) and I appreciate Allan’s support to make it a reality in Southeast Tennessee,” Haslam stressed.

Indeed, it is a marvelous program which points to the importance of this reminder. Its second year is well under way and students are applying for scholarship support. Although the initiative is available to any BCHS, CHS or WVHS graduating senior, it is geared toward students who would become the first in their families to attend college. But this parameter should not discourage any from applying. It is merely a direction.

Students in the graduating class of 2013 have been applying for the scholarship support for the past couple of weeks. And now, the deadline rapidly approaches. It is Friday, which is only a few days away.

For eligible students who want to pursue bradleyAchieves’ benefits, it is vital they start the application process immediately.

Those who are interested in applying, or at the very least who want additional information, should drop by the guidance offices at any of the three area high schools or they may visit the website. Another option that most at this stage should consider is contacting Michael Stokes, vice president of Student Services at Cleveland State Community College, at 423-478-6211.

In a time of economic strain when scholarships are more limited, when the competition to get them is unparalleled and when many students, and parents, are reluctant to pursue student loans due to increasing debt, such an opportunity is best described as golden.

It is important to remember the bradleyAchieves scholarships are not a competition. True, applying students must make commitments, but all are doable for young high school graduates who are serious about their college educations.

A minimum GPA, a few hours of community service and partnering with a mentor are all appropriate measures for such a gift of educational opportunity.

We encourage Class of 2013 seniors to apply.

We urge parents to lend full support to their children’s cause.