Middle School to Mocs Scholar Program
Posted on 05/24/2023
Middle School to Mocs Scholar ProgramChattanooga, Tenn. (May 24, 2023)-- Hamilton County Schools (HCS) and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) announced the Middle School to Mocs Scholar Program at eighth-grade promotions across the county this week.

The Middle School to Mocs Scholar will award every eighth-grade student a certificate of acceptance to UTC for fall 2027 enrollment—contingent upon successful completion of high school and meeting admission requirements for the University.

“Eighth-grade promotions are always exciting. Families are here to celebrate the end of a long journey and the anticipation of high school, so there’s always a lot of energy,” said Dr. Justin Robertson, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent. “I think the UTC announcement just added to that energy and relieved some stress from parents thinking about college four years from now and that process.

“I think there’s an air of anticipation of knowing that college is on the horizon and that it’s not just attainable—but it’s something that each and every one of these kids will have access to.”

Between May 15-23, UTC dignitaries participated in numerous Hamilton County Schools eighth-grade promotion events to introduce the Middle School to Moc Scholar program. The initiative aims to build excitement for students about their future as college students.

“I hope it helps them stay on target if they want to go to college,” Dr. Yancy Freeman, UTC vice chancellor for enrollment management and student affairs said. “For them to reach these goals, there are some things you need to do to get admitted, so all of this is to try to get an early jumpstart on getting those students to think about college as an option—a real option for them as a next step after completing high school.

“We want the students to be really excited about the promotion from eighth to ninth grade—and then we want them to know we’re reserving a spot for them.”

UTC presenters attended 23 eighth-grade promotion ceremonies across the county—with more than 3,300 students expected to attend. In addition to certificates, UTC’s admission team will mail personalized letters to each student’s home along with UTC swag.

“When the students received the announcement, they didn’t quite understand what was going on, but the more we said, ‘You have a seat waiting for you at UTC,’ the parents and the families and the guardians and the audience understood. You saw the crowd standing up in support and surprise, and the students caught on,” said Stacy Lightfoot, vice chancellor of diversity and engagement at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

“To sprinkle a little joy in the hearts and the minds and the spirits and souls of families and students as they embark on a new journey entering into high school is a blessing and something I won’t forget,” Lightfoot said.

View UTC’s coverage of Middle School to Mocs Scholar.