RAYMOND — A group of Raymond High School seniors will attend their dream colleges and universities this fall, while also incurring little or no debt, thanks to the help of a nonprofit program founded by an alumni.
The Reach High Scholars Program was founded in 2008 by Raymond High School alumni John McDaniels. The program accepts students as early as eighth grade who are nominated by their teachers and send in an application. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves through a variety of opportunities including summer round table discussion based courses, PSAT and SAT boot camps and multi-week summer boarding enrichment programs at schools like Philips Exeter Academy.
The nonprofit also plans group trips to local colleges and pays a portion of student summer program, college admission and college admission test fees on a need-based basis. The goal is to help students achieve their academic goals and attend high quality colleges and universities without accumulating significant debt.
“Our students are so fortunate to have a program that will help them pursue opportunities to be challenged academically outside of their schoolwork, navigate the college process and identify opportunities to pursue higher education without going into an incredible amount of debt,” Superintendent McCoy said.
Nine seniors in the class of 2019 graduated from the Reach High Scholars Program this year, together acquiring more than $1.3 million in scholarships and grants to attend colleges and universities this fall. These include Wheaton College, Hobart and William Smith College, Union College, Emerson College, Colby College, St. Anselm’s College and the University of New Hampshire.
“Reach High Scholars provided me with the guidance I needed to make me the best candidate possible for the schools I wanted to apply to; as well as, a safe space to vent about the challenges and hurdles I experienced along the way,” said Savannah Cooney, who will attend Wheaton College in the fall.
The Reach High Scholar’s program has approximately 70 students in grades eight through 12.
“RHSP has exposed me to so many important aspects of the college process,” said Jenny Ferm, who will attend Emerson College in the fall. “The advisers were there to help guide me through my decision making process, and aided me in creating my college resume throughout these past four years”.
Class of 2019 Raymond High School Valedictorian Carly Cole and Salutatorian Tovah Duffaut were both members of the Reach High Scholars Program.Cole will attend Union College this fall and Tovah will attend Colby College.
Raymond High School alumni from prior graduating classes who took part in the voluntary Reach High Scholars Program have attended competitive schools including Boston College, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Holy Cross, Northeastern and Worcester Polytechnic.
Two former members of the program were the first and second Raymond Public School alumni to receive Fulbright Scholarships to study and work abroad. Several other alumni of the nonprofit program work in companies including Amazon, Athenahealth, BAE Systems and IBM Watson, and are pursuing or have obtained Ph.D. and master’s degrees.