Area ninth-graders make up inaugural class of TJC Promise scholars

Today, they’re Bulldogs, Indians, Eagles, Red Raiders, Lions, Vandals and Wildcats. Four years from now, they’ll be Apaches.

More than 750 East Texas ninth-graders have signed up for the TJC Promise, a new, Tyler Junior College scholarship initiative.

On Tuesday, 192 freshmen from John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools – along with their parents – signed pledges to meet the standards of the program during their high school years.

In return, the TJC Promise will cover up to two years at TJC.

In recent weeks, TJC Promise signing ceremonies have been held at the other schools in the TJC tax district, including Chapel Hill, Grand Saline, Lindale, Van and Winona.

The total number of students in the inaugural class of TJC Promise scholars currently stands at 753, including:

• Chapel Hill: 149 
• Grand Saline: 59
• Lindale: 193
• Tyler: 192
• Van: 111
• Winona: 49

Beginning with the class of 2020, eligible graduates from these districts can receive up to two years of tuition and fees at TJC.

“The TJC Promise is an earned scholarship,” TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said. “A student promises to work hard, make good grades, give back back to the community and come directly to TJC following graduation from high school. In return, we promise to provide the opportunity for them to continue their education.”

The TJC Promise was inspired by the the Rusk TJC Citizens Promise, the first promise program of its kind in the state of Texas, which is privately funded by gifts from Citizens 1st Bank, The James I. Perkins Family Foundation and others. 

The new program was developed in partnership with leaders from surrounding school districts.

With more than 120 degree and certificate programs available at the college, plus extensive technical and training programs, students will benefit from the TJC Promise whether they plan to transfer to a four-year institution or go directly into the workforce.

For each high school, the TJC Promise carries a community-branded name. For example, in Tyler the scholarship will be the Tyler TJC Promise.

The TJC Promise will offer a path to higher education by making college accessible and affordable. Scholarship standards are based on student performance in high school, which will instill behaviors early on to ensure students will be successful in high school, college and beyond.

“I hope other communities will see the TJC Promise as a model for success and follow in our actions,” Metke said.

“Across the nation, promise programs are making the American dream fresh. They are becoming vehicles of upward mobility by providing broader access to a college education. This is a win-win for our students and community.” 

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