Chamber Honors Record 143 Graduating Tennessee Scholars
At the ceremony, Allen Lutz, the Education and Workforce Specialist for the Roane Alliance, welcomed the students and congratulated them for their achievement. Lutz announced that the Roane County Schools’ 2018 Tennessee Scholars graduating class of 143 was the largest since the beginning of the program in 2007.
Leah Watkins, Director of Roane County Schools, congratulated the students for their academic achievements and having served Roane County through community service efforts to become a Tennessee Scholar. Each of the students completed at least eighty hours of community service, with most of the students donating more hours.
Melaine Townsend, speaking on behalf of Roane County Executive Ron Woody, congratulated the students and encouraged them to work hard to achieve their career goals.
Chris Whaley, President of Roane State Community College, congratulated the new Tennessee Scholars and told them read about the importance of grit. “Grit,” said Whaley, “is sticking to your goals when life doesn’t always go as planned. Don’t give up on your education!”
Danice Turpin, President of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Harriman, congratulated the students and said they “need to find their passion because their life’s work needs to have meaning. Chasing a big salary seems appealing but being happy with your work and accomplishments is more sustaining.” Turpin also told the students that “there are many safety nets built in to help them when they are struggling – success coaches, tnAchieves mentors, advisors, and parents. It is important to use the safety nets when needed.”
At the ceremony, the seniors received a Tennessee Scholars certificate and medallion from Lutz and Watkins. The Tennessee Scholars wear the medallion at their high school graduation ceremonies. Their high school diploma and transcript will also have the Tennessee Scholar Seal letting potential employers know these students have worked hard and maintained the standards of a Tennessee Scholar.
“Having a prepared workforce that is able to provide skilled, responsible, committed, and professional workers to our existing businesses as well as the next generation of companies that will come to Roane County is critical to our success as a community,” says Lutz. “The economic growth and success of our community is heavily dependent on our people. Businesses will come to Roane County if we have the people with the skills that businesses need to succeed. The Tennessee Scholars program provides a foundation for our students to build a successful career.”
To be a Tennessee Scholar, in addition to completing a rigorous course of study, Tennessee Scholar students must maintain an overall “C” average, have 95% or higher attendance, pass end-of-course tests, have no out-of-school suspensions, and complete a minimum of 80 hours of community service during their four years of high school.
“The goal of Tennessee Scholars is to increase the number of students graduating from high school with a rigorous academic course of study, which includes advanced math and science classes, that prepares them for higher education and the workforce,” said Lutz. “Tennessee Scholars is about workforce preparedness, and workforce preparedness is the number one factor businesses consider when looking to locate in a community. If we don’t have a skilled workforce, businesses will not come here.”
The Roane County United Way, received special thanks for its financial support of the Tennessee Scholars program. The Scholars program is a part of the United Way’s education efforts which engage students and parents to increase their involvement in setting high educational goals and help them better understand the value of higher education.
This school year, Dina Jackson, Executive Director of the Roane County United Way, participated in presenting awards to high school sophomores and juniors for staying “on-track” to becoming a Tennessee Scholar Graduate. Other community leaders who have helped recognize our students for staying “on-track” this school year include Tennessee State Representative Kent Calfee; Roane County Commissioners David Bell, Randy Ellis, and Carolyn Granger; and Kim Nelson, the Roane County Public Defender.
The Tennessee Scholars is a Chamber led program conducted in partnership with local businesses and Roane County Schools.
The Chamber is a partner in The Roane Alliance – Roane County’s economic development organization. The partners who operate under the Alliance umbrella along with the Chamber include the Industrial Development Board, Visitors Bureau, Retire Roane, and Education Matters. To learn more about how the Roane Alliance promotes economic development and seeks increased opportunities for all Roane County citizens, please visit www.roanealliance.org.