Franklin County is taking stock in its children, and seeing to it many of them receive the education and training they need to succeed.
In a high-profile presentation Friday morning of the community’s support of the Take Stock in Children program – which provides two years of tuition to post-secondary college or vocational training – 10 new students, a record number, signed up for the program.
Joined by their parents in the Franklin County High School media center, who signed right along with their children, the students committed themselves to keeping their grades up and their behaviors in line during their high school years. In return, the students receive two years of tuition for their post-high school training.
The 10 students who are set to join the program include freshmen Jade Lively, Jayden Gray, Jasmine Gray, Shakira Miller, Maleah Bell, and Savannah Odom; and sophomores Kirsten Martina, Gideon Dively, Jamarcus Turrell, and Kylie Sapp.
They join existing Take Stock students, who include juniors Autumn Loesch, Samantha Anderrson, Matthew Gordon and Faline Everitt; and seniors Raymiona West, Alondra Jimenez, and Sevryn Everitt.
Callie Nichols, director of the Take Stock program, welcomed the gathering, and thanked the community for its support. She stressed that when an organization makes a donation, it is matched, doubling its impact.
She said one of Take Stock’s strongest partners is the Franklin Education Foundation.
“They have done phenomenal work to bring dollars in,” he said, noting that Take Stock has produced 18 college graduates over several years. “”Our work would be harder without a good strong Foundation.”
Among the students who have benefitted are Jathan Martin, now a doctoral candidate at Yale Divinity School; Brea Walker, a graduate of Columbia University; and Morgan Martin, a FAMU grad who now directs communication for the Franklin County Schools.
Cliff Butler, the Foundation’s director, spoke about how the FEF was re-formed in 2018. “Take Stock is now one of our primary objectives,” he said. “We’re all here to support you in your future.”
He said the monies can be used for both community college or vocational school, noting that the dollars go further when it comes to funding college.
“It really starts with the parents, it starts with you at home,” said Superintendent Steve Lanier, in his remarks.
He outlined how each of the students will have a volunteer coach and mentor who will advise them through their years in the program, and counsel them through their challenges.
“It’s about teaching these kids, showing them the right way,” he said. “This is a big deal for us and everyone here.”
Butler’s wife, Denise, a retired teacher, administrator and school board member, offered a note of encouragement directly to the students.
“You are valuable to this community,” she said. “I want you to understand your value to yourself.”
A quick survey of the freshmen and sophomores joining the program revealed that Odom and Bell are considering the medical field, Dively sports management, Turrell business or psychology, Lively scientist, Miller dentistry, Martina biologist, Jayden Gray videography, and Jasmine Gray teaching math.