June 8, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (June 8, 2017)—Tallahassee Community College today announced a “transformational” new scholarship program for Gadsden County students.
The TCC Gadsden Learn Scholarship is a tuition-assistance program sponsored by the TCC Foundation and designed to remove financial barriers to postsecondary education for Gadsden County students. According to Heather Mitchell, executive director of the TCC Foundation, the program is expected to help improve the county’s college-bound rate, create a competitive workforce and launch students on the path to a promising future.
The announcement was made at the TCC Gadsden Center, located in Quincy. Curtis Richardson, who is president of the TCC Foundation Board of Directors and the STEM coordinator for Gadsden County Schools, introduced the program.
The endowed scholarship fund will provide a one-year scholarship to any student graduating from an accredited public or private school (or homeschool) in Gadsden County who is a resident of Gadsden County and has at least a 3.0 unweighted high school GPA. The student may be pursuing a university transfer degree or a career certificate or degree program at TCC.
“Hopefully, it will inspire kids who thought their families could not afford college to now aspire to go to college,” said Richardson.
The scholarship program will begin in the fall of 2017. It is considered a “last dollar scholarship,” intended to fill the gap between the recipient’s financial aid and tuition expenses. The maximum scholarship per student will be $1,000.
Jim Murdaugh, president of TCC, talked about the program as the next step in the partnership between TCC and Gadsden County.
“Scholarships can change lives, and sometimes when we change lives, we change families. But this is even more significant because it has the potential to change not only lives and families, but the future of Gadsden County.”
Four Gadsden County leaders addressed the attendees, including Kevin Forehand, principal of Crossroad Academy Charter School, Julie Schmidtman-Baroody, president of the board of trustees of Robert F. Munroe Day School, Roger Milton, superintendent of Gadsden County Schools, and Isaac Simmons, Jr., chair of the Gadsden County Board of Education.
Two newly minted high school graduates spoke about the scholarship’s importance to students and families.
Alejandra Aviles, from Crossroad Academy, hopes to become a marriage and family counselor and has already earned some college credits at TCC through the dual enrollment program. Aviles thanked those who helped launch the scholarship program, “so scholars in Gadsden County have the chance to be successful in reaching their dreams.”
Tyriek McClellan, from East Gadsden High School, who is interested in studying fashion and design, said that his mother had to struggle to provide for him and his siblings while she attended college, but now he hopes to be able to help her in the future.
All the speakers thanked community members who contributed to the scholarship fund. Many of the donors are members of Gretna Presbyterian Church, which has supported a similar scholarship fund for children at Gretna Elementary School for 20 years. The church members have now joined their efforts with the larger effort to support the Gadsden Learn Scholarship, said one of the church’s leaders, James Harold Thompson.
“We are committed to our community and excited to be able to reach out to all the children of Gadsden County,” said Thompson.
According to TCC’s Heather Mitchell, the program is the first of its kind in Florida to offer a scholarship that is countywide and available to students in both certificate and degree programs.
For information, contact Heather Mitchell at MITCHELH@tcc.fl.edu or (850) 201-6067.