Reach for Excellence is a classroom based academic and leadership enrichment program that was begun in 2001 by the Marist Fathers and Brothers, who also own and operate Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia, where the program is hosted. The program remains a separate 501 (c) (3)from Marist School, governed by a separate board of directors and responsible for its own funding. Through a mix of academic, cultural, and community based experiences, this tuition free program prepares talented middle school students of limited income to meet the challenges of college preparatory programs and high schools. Limited income is defined as a family income of $50,000 or less, although among our current population the median income is just under $30,000. Students along with their families commit to three six week summer sessions, and two years of alternating sessions throughout the school year. Now in its eleventh year, the graduates of RFE are going on to some of the best public and private high schools and boarding schools, colleges, and graduate schools in Georgia and throughout the United States.
Due to the fact that our facility is donated in kind, the operating expenses for the Reach program and for which the Sara Giles Moore Foundation supported last year in the amount of $30,000, go directly to providing scholarships for students to participate. Over seven students were supported by these funds and were enriched by the Reach experience. Their summer and Saturday session allowed students to improve knowledge in core subjects, fine tune study skills, raise their awareness of college prep programs both in Atlanta and elsewhere, and equipped them to be successful as they move through their educational experience. Last year 100% of Reach graduates went on to attend high school and 96% of older graduates attended college. Students are still awaiting admissions decisions for the 2013 year and in July we will graduate another 27 students from the program and we are anticipating the same high percentages for enrollment. We believe the program is consistently producing positive results and others are noticing. This year Reach for Excellence was chosen By College Board as the 2013 Southern Region Award Winner for “innovation” in the category of “getting ready”. This award acknowledges those programs that provide opportunity through education to underserved students. The generous and consistent support from the Sara Giles Moore Foundation not only helps us to meet budget but makes you a vital partner in this mission. We share this award, with those who by their generosity, have made this happen.