School leaders from Samson County Schools are excited about a new grant which will help students prepare for college.
The district received a $1.3 million Upward Bound grant to support students through tutoring, mentoring and other services. Each year, the U.S. Department of Education will provide Sampson Schools $263,653 each year.
Col. Tommy Macon, assistant superintendent for curriculum and student services for Sampson Schools, expressed how the program will provide college opportunities for students.
“It will provide insight on college life and support to reach their dreams and get to college,” Macon said.
The goal of the program is to help students complete secondary education and enroll and graduate from college. Upward Bound provides academic instruction in math laboratory sciences, composition, literature, and foreign language. Curriculum is designed to help students from low-income families and homes where neither parent earned a bachelor’s degree.
“It gives us a good opportunity for us to support some students that otherwise wouldn’t receive this support, educationally speaking,” Macon said.
Upward Bound is helping 60 students from Hobbton, Lakewood, and Union high schools.
“Based on certain criteria that align with the economics of today, certain school fit into this criteria better than other,” Macon said.
With the federal funds, the district plans to hire a program director and coordinator, administrative support, tutors, summer instructors and counselors.
“These funds will provide wonderful opportunities for young people to prepare for high education,” stated Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy. “Seeking this grant and implementing this program are part of our commitment to ensure that students are on a path to successful futures. We are excited about the possibilities and are ready to get started with the program.”
Macon said it’s an endeavor that was researched with assistance from Dr. Gerri Williams, a part-time grant writer for SCS. According to help students, a Saturday Enrichment Academy will be available during the school year to boost college preparation, SAT/ACT support, and completing financial aid applications. Some of the other opportunities include tutoring, mentoring, college tours and cultural enrichment activities.
During summer breaks, district officials said Upward Bound will also provide an academy for rising sophomores and juniors and internship for seniors. A summer bridge program will help high school graduates transition into college. Activities are free for selected students.
“I’m so pleased and happy they will benefit from this great program and the funding that’s in place to ensure that our kids get additional resources,” Macon said.