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Project GRAD’s Walk for Success

Farmingdale State College President W. Hubert Keen, along with students and resident advisors from the college, joined Long Island volunteers recently at Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) Walk for Success in Westbury. Together, this group of nearly 140 canvassed the neighborhood, visiting homes of ninth-graders to inform their families of a new college scholarship program that helps disadvantaged students graduate from high school and attend college.

These students will be the first on Long Island to graduate under the Project GRAD program, which guarantees a maximum $6,000 college scholarship for eligible students. The scholarship is distributed over the course of four years.

“I thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to talk with middle school students and their families. It reminded me of my days in the classroom,” said Keen, who serves on the board of Project GRAD Long Island.

To qualify for scholarships, students must have an 81 point cumulative average by the time they graduate, complete required courses, attend two Project GRAD Summer Institutes on local campuses, and take the SAT College Entrance Exam by the conclusion of their junior year. To receive the scholarship each year, they must enroll in an accredited university or college within 12 months of graduating high school and maintain an annual 2.5 grade point average.

GRAD Long Island is the local, independent 501(c)3 organization that has forged a long-term partnership with the Westbury Union Free School District, representing more than 4,000 students – 70 percent of whom qualify for free and reduced price lunch. GRAD Long Island provides academic and college-readiness support for students and professional development of teachers.

The initiative is based on Project GRAD, a comprehensive, cost-effective nonprofit pre K-16 school reform currently under way in 13 communities. GRAD serves more than 130,000 students nationwide. The organization aims to provide a high quality public education for all children so that high school graduation rates increase dramatically and graduates are prepared to enter and succeed in college.

For more about the organization, visit http://www. projectgrad.org