Following the successful launch of the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise program in 2014, the fifth group of Rusk High School seniors is preparing to join the Tyler Junior College freshman class of 2018.
The Rusk TJC Citizens Promise is one of the earliest Promise programs in the United States and the first such initiative in Texas. The Rusk TJC Citizens Promise initiative covers up to $4,000 per year for two years at TJC. In addition to graduating in the top half of their class with a minimum 2.5 GPA, qualifying students must also reside in Rusk ISD and must have attended Rusk High School for grades 11 and 12.
The 50 eligible Rusk seniors were introduced during a special event Monday in the RHS auditorium. The event was attended by the entire RHS student body.
Speakers included TJC President Dr. Mike Metke, Margaret Perkins of the Perkins Family Foundation, and TJC sophomore geology major Cassie Weiss, who is a Rusk Promise Scholar and in the TJC Presidential Honors Program.
“You’re not going to be able to have the life and all the things you want with just a high school education,” Metke told the students. “You need to go beyond high school. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a four-year school, but certainly you need to go beyond and you have an incredible opportunity now.
“Through the Rusk Promise, there’s a hand reaching out to you. Make sure you grab onto that hand. It will change your life and it will change the lives of your entire family.
Weiss described the impact the Rusk Promise program has had on her life.
“Without the Rusk Promise, I wouldn’t have been able to go to college,” she said. “I wouldn’t have met all the people I have, and been able to make connections. It’s a big opportunity, and I plead with you to accept it and appreciate it because it’s definitely a life-changer.”
Margaret Perkins said, “We are proud of you for being eligible for this scholarship. Citizens 1st Bank has been in existence since 1920, and we are convinced there is no better way to invest in our community and in the state of Texas than in furthering your education and helping you achieve your dreams.
“We know you can do this, and we know the opportunities it can provide you. And everyone in this room benefits from having a more highly educated and skilled workforce.”
This year’s eligible students are: Alexis Banks, Jarrett Basse, Bryanna Beam, Laney Birdwell, Emily Boales, Joycelyn Bradley, Athena Brummett, Preslye Cox, Emily Cruseturner, Sarah Crysup, Keelan Davidson, Brittney Davis, Kylie Davis, Stormy Duran, Ashleigh Fortune, Jaeda Garrett, Tatum Gates, Yadira Gonzalez, Heather Haney, Koby Henry, Mykaela Holsome, Melanie Howell, Braden Hunter, Stacy Hykel, Jessica Jenkins, Baylie Jones, Kylee Keith, Ricia Kincade, Clay Langley, Erynn Lee, Tatum Loya, Edward Martin, Josie Merchant, Parker Millsap, Sarah Murray, Adam Patterson, Travis Pepin, Alaina Phillips, Devyn Renfroe, Deanna Rios, Brandon Rossa, Chase Seabourn, Mia Skinner, Dylan Sprayberry, Taylar Thompson, Antone Tilley, Joshua Traylor, Kristin Tugwell, Kristen Villegas and Katherine Witt.
Megan Cumbee, TJC scholarship recruitment and retention coordinator, is designated solely to providing assistance to Rusk TJC Citizens Promise Scholars.
Cumbee, a 2006 Rusk High School graduate, keeps in contact with Promise scholars throughout their senior year at RHS and holds a series of workshops and meetings especially for them and their parents, to ease the students’ transition from high school to TJC.
The Rusk TJC Citizens Promise program is a partnership between TJC, the TJC Foundation, Rusk ISD, Citizens 1st Bank and The Perkins Family Foundation.
For more information on the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise, go to www.tjc.edu/ruskpromise.