#2 – Looking to build on scholarships for seniors and early college options
Posted on 08/05/2019
Haley Fookes, a 2019 graduate of Signal Mtn. HighWe are counting down the top seven reasons to be excited about the first day of school on Wednesday, August 7. Yes, Wednesday is the first day of school!

Reason #2: Looking to build on scholarships and early college options

Last year, Hamilton County Schools saw tremendous increases in scholarships offered to seniors, early college option courses such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) taken by students, and more students earning an industry certification.

More 2019 graduates of Hamilton County Schools got a head start on college as the class received approximately $64 million more in scholarship offers than in 2018. The Class of 2019 had over $95 million in scholarship offers from colleges and universities, which is up from $31 million last year.

The number of students earning an industry certification more than tripled last school year with 224 earned by high school students. Industry certifications allow graduates to leave high school with a certification for a job skill in the career field of choice. The certification puts the graduate at a competitive advantage when looking for a job or entering a post-secondary training program.

The five-year strategic plan Future Ready 2023 adopted last year focused improvement on more students taking early post-secondary options and that effort showed early results as 916 more students enrolled in one of the advanced academic courses last school year. During the 2017-2018 school year, 1,951 students enrolled in an early college course. For the 2018-2019 school year, that number increased to 2,867 students getting an early start on college. These numbers represent the students taking advantage of the courses available to them. Many of those students are taking more than one course, so the total number of courses taken is even higher. Over 5,000 early post-secondary option classes were taken by high school students across the district during the 2018-2019 school year.

Hailey Fookes, a 2019 graduate of Signal Mountain High School, benefited from advanced courses and scholarships last year. She will be on her way to Mississippi State soon where she plans to major in education and pursue a career teaching high school math. Fookes will attend Mississippi State on a full scholarship that will take care of tuition, room, board, books, food, and it also provides a technology stipend.

“I won’t have to worry about anything (related to college expenses) for the next four years,” said Fookes.

The first day of school is important for students of all ages- whether it be the first day of kindergarten or the first day of senior year. Attendance on the first day sets the tone for the rest of the school year. Hamilton County Schools wants every student to be #FirstDayReady!

Photo: Hailey Fookes, a 2019 graduate of Signal Mountain High School

Reasons to be excited about the first day of school on Wednesday, August 7
#7 – New Buses and Bus Service from First Student
#6 – The Back to School Bash (tomorrow 10 to 2) at First Tennessee Pavilion and Finley Stadium
#5 – Opening of expanded Snow Hill Elementary, Howard Connect Academy and new school construction
#4 – One-to-one in high schools – a laptop for every student
#3 – New Future Ready Institutes
#2 - Looking to build on scholarships and early college options
#1 – Coming tomorrow!