Tennessee Promise students meet with mentors again

Friday, March 6, 2015
Mentors met with their students Tuesday to go over what is expected of them in college. From left are Taylor Gibson, Ariana Grosinsky holding Keegan Church, Victoria Golembieski and her mother Jennifer and Charlotte Zajac, the mentor of Taylor, Ariana and Victoria.

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

The second Tennessee Promise meeting was held Tuesday in Marshall County High School's Dottie Kelso gymnasium.

Mentors met with their students to go over upcoming deadlines, Free Application for Federal Student Aid requirements, and things expected of them when entering college.

Tennessee Promise serves as a mentoring and scholarship program and provides students a "last- dollar" scholarship, meaning the scholarship will cover tuition and fees not covered by either the Pell grant, the HOPE scholarship, or Tennessee Student Assistance Awards.

The first meeting was on Jan. 7, during which seniors from all three of the county's high schools -- Cornersville, Forrest, and Marshall County -- met with their mentors for the first time.

According to Jennifer Dreis, regional coordinator for tnAchieves and director for Marshall County, 318 students in Marshall County were enrolled in Tennessee Promise program before the first meeting.

If the student does not give their mentor a doctor's note or reason for not attending a meeting within 72 hours after the session, they are disqualified from the program.

A total of 48 students have been disqualified from the program here for not attending the Jan. 7 meeting.

Students had to file their FAFSA paperwork by Feb. 15. Those who failed to do so were also disqualified.

Per term enrolled, participants must complete eight hours of community service as well as maintain satisfactory academic progress (2.0 GPA) at their institution while under the Tennessee Promise program.

Before Tuesday's meeting students were to apply to one college of their choice.

The Tennessee Promise is offered at the 13 community colleges and 27 colleges of applied technology in Tennessee.

Martin Methodist College in Pulaski is also eligible to participate in the program and has its own Promise Plus program as well. This matches, dollar-for-dollar, the Tennessee Promise funds and will extend the Promise Plus scholarship for the additional two years, if the student decides to stay on after earning an associate's degree.

Victoria Golembieski is a senior at MCHS who plans to enroll in the Elementary Education program at Martin Methodist.

In addition to an $11,000 scholarship she was awarded, Martin Methodist is offering Golembieski $628 each semester through the Promise Plus program.

Tuition per year would have cost her around $21,850, but with her scholarship and the Promise Plus grant, she will pay only $9,500 per year.

Although Tuesday was the last meeting for the academic year, each mentor is to stay in touch with his or her student to encourage them throughout their college career and make sure the student does the required number of volunteer hours.

Students are to complete eight hours of community service and verify their FAFSA information if required by their college by Aug. 1.