Jackson Promise: Goal is 100% of seniors college bound


Bruce Blanding, president of Jackson State Community College, and Verna Ruffin, superintendent of Jackson-Madison County Schools, sit with principals and guidance counselors from North Side, South Side, Madison Academic Magnet, Jackson Central-Merry and Liberty high schools. (Photo: Nick McFerron/The Jackson Sun)

Nick McFerron, The Jackson Sun

Working with Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative and the Tennessee Promise, the Jackson-Madison County School System is working with Jackson State Community College to ensure that every graduate goes to college.

At an event at Jackson State on Friday, Superintendent Verna Ruffin and JSCC President Bruce Blanding asked the principals and guidance counselors of the five local public high schools to sign on with the Jackson Promise.

The Jackson Promise is an initiative to encourage every high school student to sign up for the Tennessee Promise scholarship before or on Sept. 20.

As part of the Jackson Promise, Ruffin offered a challenge to her principals to be the first school to have 100 percent of seniors sign up for the scholarship.

“The first high school to reach 100 percent graduates signing up for the Tennessee Promise scholarship will win $5,000 for the school,” Ruffin said.

Janice Epperson, principal of Madison Academic Magnet High School, said she thinks they will reach that goal.

“We already have 100 percent of students who are either college-bound or going into military service,” Epperson said. “Of course, we’re going to try to be first.”

Epperson also talked about misconceptions that students sometimes have about going to a community college.

“We’re not telling them they aren’t good enough to go to a four-year college,” she said.

Epperson emphasized that by participating in the Tennessee Promise scholarship, students will be able to attend their first two years of college for free at a community college or technical school. The class of 2015 is the first to be eligible for the program.

Andrea Winchester, director of high school initiatives at Jackson State, said that under the Tennessee Promise, credit earned at community colleges will be completely transferable to a four-year college.

Jackson State will be hosting Scholarship Saturday on Sept. 20, where high school seniors will be able to sign up for the Tennessee Promise scholarship and learn more about attending Jackson State.

“Scholarship Saturday is a unique opportunity to ensure every Madison County senior has the opportunity to pursue the Tennessee Promise,” said Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Promise. “We are looking forward to being in Jackson on the 20th and assisting Dr. Ruffin and her staff as they pursue the 100 percent commitment.”

For more information on the program, visit TNPromise.gov

Reach Nick McFerron at (731) 425-9643. Follow him on Twitter @nick_mcferron

What to know

For more information on the Tennessee Promise scholarship program, visit TNPromise.gov

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