Each school was represented by the principal, graduation coach, and superintendent or designee and was presented a Clearinghouse style check along with a real check to begin the work of improv-ing their college-going rate.
Congratulating each of the recipients were speakers Dr. Eric Wearne, governor’s office of student achievement; Representative Amos Amerson of the 9th district; Dr. Sandy Addis, director of pioneer regional education service agency; Commissioner Mike Beatty, department of community affairs; and Mr. James Thompson, ARC program director. In addition to the program presenters, represen-tatives from two and four year colleges and technical colleges in the region were there to network and congratulate all the schools.
GACHE, housed at North Georgia College and State University, is funded by the Appalachian Re-gional Commission. This is the fourth year GACHE has presented awards to area high schools, and the results are clear — school communities that focus on building relationships with students and providing a rigorous curriculum make a difference in whether or not students continue their educa-tion beyond high school. Schools implementing the GACHE Model Program have shown increases of up to 17 percent in their college-going rates. Sonoraville high school posted a graduation rate of 84.6 percent for the 2008-09 school year; this success is, in part, a result of the school’s partnership with GACHE.
GACHE Director Shirley Davis explained the value of the program to the Appalachian Counties of North Georgia. “It is no longer good enough to get a high school diploma if our young people are to be competitive in today’s world,” she said. “It is not only an educational reality but an economic necessity that we must improve the educational level of our citizens in order for our state to con-tinue to grow and thrive.”
GACHE is committed to assisting North Georgia high schools in providing postsecondary oppor-tunities for all their students and commends the administrators, graduation coaches, counselors, and all faculty and community members for making certain that their students have viable postsec-ondary options.
The Georgia Appalachian Center for Higher Education consists of education, community, and govern-ment leaders who share the vision of improved student achievement and postsecondary attainment for students in the 37 Appalachian Counties of Georgia. More information is available at www.ngcsu.edu/gache .