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REACHING for the Future: Cobb Middle School Students Earn $10,000 Scholarship

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Cobb Schools Foundation recognizes REACH Scholarship recipients.

There were tears, hugs, smiles—lots of smiles—and a palpable sense of pride that filled the room as five Cobb middle school students signed for a $10,000 scholarship. The Cobb Schools Foundation recently held the annual signing ceremony for the Cobb eighth graders selected for the opportunity to earn a $10,000 REACH scholarship upon high school graduation. The students currently attend Hightower Trail Middle School, Palmer Middle School, and Pine Mountain Middle School. Next year, they will attend one of the following high schools: Kell High School, Kennesaw Mountain High School, North Cobb High School, or Pope High School. 

Cobb Schools REACH 2023 Scholars: IMG_0360-1.jpg

  • Karson StevensonHightower Trail Middle School
  • Katheryne CornPalmer Middle School
  • Gabriel Ruiz FigueroaPalmer Middle School
  • Thomas TeohPalmer Middle School
  • Libby SchellPine Mountain High School

For each student, the Cobb Schools Foundation must raise $4,000, and REACH Georgia will match it by 2.5 times for a total scholarship worth $10,000.

Governor Nathan Deal launched REACH Georgia in 2012 as a statewide needs-based mentorship and scholarship program. It provides academically promising students who have a demonstrated financial need with the academic, social, and financial support to help make their dreams of post-secondary education a reality. The program supports students throughout the entire state. Many of the promising students are first-generation college/post-secondary-bound students, adding to the pride in the room of the Cobb Schools signing ceremony.


OnIMG_0352-1.jpge of the proud parents in attendance at the REACH ceremony was Kimberly Martin.

“I am just ecstatic, like my heart is just pounding the entire time; I had tears flowing. I'm just so happy,” declared Ms. Martin after watching her son Karson sign for the REACH scholarship. “This is so important to him [and] to us as a family.”

Ms. Martin and other parents in attendance joined their children in signing the REACH Scholarship contract. The parents, along with school district employees, entered an agreement to support the students’ efforts to maintain a 2.5 HOPE GPA or higher, continue to have good behavior and school attendance, and to meet with a volunteer mentor and academic coach throughout high school.IMG_0340.jpg

In addition to their families, other members of the school community attended the ceremony. Like the parents, the educators and community members in attendance are invested in the success of the promising students. Some of those guests included their current middle school principals, Superintendent Chris Ragsdale, school counselors and social workers, and members of the Cobb Schools Foundation.

Superintendent Ragsdale advised the students to take advantage of the mentors available to support them during their academic journey.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That is the best piece of advice to hear and live by,” Superintendent Ragsdale said. 

IMG_0344.jpgCobb Schools Foundation Vice-President Joy Doss of The Doss Law Firm added to the Superintendent’s advice.

“Everyone in the room is on your team,” the Vice-President said. “Be bold. Be brave. Be kind. Do the right thing. Help others. Shoot for the stars. Find your joy. Find your peace; don’t let anyone get in the way of your dreams.”

Knowing their child has the support of the school community made the scholarship opportunity even more impactful for the families. 

“I just know that [Karson has] always just been a special child. For somebody to come step up here and actually tell him that and just express that he was actually chosen, it just means so much to me. It just makes my mommy heart so full,” Ms. Martin added. “Community means a lot. I’ve learned that just with the situations that we’ve been in, and I know that it takes a village to raise a child, and community is everything. I’m just ecstatic that we have some great community people that want to come in and see the potential, the success that Karson has to offer.”IMG_0355-1.jpg

Karson’s dad, Kevin Stevenson, agreed. He was very encouraged by the community’s support. Karson’s grandfather, Dr. Brien E. Martin, looks at the scholarship as an opportunity for his grandson to serve as an example for the community and other students, to show his peers what you can achieve.

Following all the advice Karson and the other scholarship recipients received at the ceremony, Karson’s dad had a bit more advice for his son.

“Keep going. Don’t give up. Life gives you curveballs, ups, downs,” the REACH dad said. “You [will] get happy, you [will] get sad, but through it all, you just keep going and give it your best.”

Learn how the Cobb Schools REACH scholarships are already positively impacting Cobb graduates. 

The Cobb Schools Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Cobb County School District with the mission of, together, taking student success to new heights.

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