BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
The FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools held its Take Stock in Children (TSIC) New Contract Signing and Senior Recognition Ceremony May 15. Volusia County Judge Dawn Fields presided over the swearing-in ceremony and shared words of encouragement with the new enrollees and their parents.
The program assists ambitious, goal-oriented students to graduate from high school and attend college by offering college tuition scholarships and volunteer mentors.
“Low-income students are selected in eighth grade through an application process which includes writing an essay on why they should be selected. Once selected through a committee review process, they are paired with a mentor who beginning in ninth grade meets weekly for approximately 30 minutes on campus during the school term,” said Cynthia Ramirez, executive director of FUTURES Foundation for Volusia County Schools.
“The Volusia County Take Stock In Children scholar must maintain a weighted GPA of 3.0 and maintain good citizenship,” added, noting that good citizenship includes no drug or alcohol use, crime or gang involvement.
Upon achieving these goals, the students are awarded a Florida Prepaid tuition scholarship. The Florida prepaid scholarships purchased for these students are just over $16,000.
Donations from community, state
FUTURES/Take Stock in Children raises funds for these student scholarships through individual, community, civic and private donations and all contributions are matched 100 percent with dollars from the Florida Prepaid Scholarship Program.
Students at the event had plans of entrepreneurship, medicine and the arts.
“She has always been a good student, always been on the honor roll, but once she saw all the scholarships that were available she’s been working her butt off even more,” Tais Wilson’s father said about his daughter. “She’s finished her her high school math classes and hasn’t begun high school yet.”
“It is very important to me,” Tais chimed in, who plays the cello and piano and seeks a profession in the medical field.
‘I can do this’
Odeon Smith, a student interested in game design told the Daytona Times he understands the importance of the scholarship. “It can be a struggle to get money, and I know I can do this.’’
“We are a team,” he added, referring to his family and mom, Connie Smith, who also was at the banquet.
Mentors are being recruited to meet with students at their school to offer encouragement, motivation and serve as positive role models. Interested parties can complete an online application at futuresvolusia.org or call the office at 386-255-6475.