ASU grant will benefit Lowndes County students

Published 2:41 pm Monday, August 22, 2016

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By Fred Guarino

The Lowndes Signal
Alabama State University (ASU) will help several hundred students at 10 schools in Montgomery, Lowndes and Elmore Counties graduate from high school and prepare for a college education thanks to a $349,000 Educational Talent Search (TRIO) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
According to ASU, the grant will run over five years, starting this school year (Sept. 1), and ending Aug. 31, 2021.
And schools supported in Lowndes County will include Central High School, Calhoun High School, Lowndes Middle School and Hayneville Middle School.
Talent Search, one of eight programs collectively known as the federal TRIO programs, assists students confronting tough challenges to  finish high school and attend a post secondary institution. Activities and services are specially designed for low-income and first-generation college students as well as those with disabilities and limited English-language proficiency.
“Talent Search is a win-win program for our students,” said Acquanetta M. Pinkard, director of ASU TRIO Program.  “Students in economically challenged backgrounds might lack the services early in the process that helps them stay on track. This program is in keeping with ASU’s goal of creating access opportunities for all qualified students in pursuit of a higher education.”
Pinkard said without key resources, mentors, tutors and access to challenging classes, students from low-income homes are significantly less likely to find the path to college and more likely to struggle if they get there.
Lowndes County School Superintendent Dr. Daniel Boyd said ASU the TRIO Program has partnered with Lowndes County Public Schools for quite a few years, “and the work they have done has been great.”
He said, “We look forward ASU TRIO Program expanding their program since they have received this new grant.”
Boyd the program has been helpful and takes students on field trips. He said, “Many of our students don’t get to go to trips abroad like Tennessee and places like that.”
According to ASU, what it’s Educational Talent Search Program provides, at no expense, is academic, career and financial counseling to its participants. Specifically, it offers academic tutorials, test taking/study skills workshops, financial aid workshops, peer pressure/self-esteem workshops, career exploration and aptitude assessment, mentoring program, college campus exposure, cultural enrichment activities and workshops for family participation.
“The program is designed to help eliminate hurdles,” Pinkard said.
Other high schools supported include:
Montgomery County:  Robert E. Lee High School, Sidney Lanier High School, Jefferson Davis High School and Capitol Heights Junior High;
Elmore County: Marbury High School and Wetumpka High School;
“These schools were chosen because of the number of families meeting the eligibility criteria of low-income first-generation,” Pinkard said.
ASU reports that Pinkard wrote the federal, service-oriented grant with the support of the University team of Dr. Parichart Thornton and Dr. Cynthia Harris.

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