Education

Take Stock mentoring program adding 82 students

Most of us have probably not given much thought to the year 2023. But for a group of 82 seventh-graders in Monroe County, that year will become more significant this week.

2023 is the year they are expected to graduate high school after earning access to a four-year college scholarship through the Take Stock in Children program.

Take Stock in Children Monroe, entering its 19th year in Monroe County, provides college scholarships through the Monroe County Education Foundation to low-income students who meet the program’s academic and income eligibility requirements. Take Stock scholars make a commitment to maintain at least a 2.5 grade point average, maintain good attendance and behavior, and meet weekly with a mentor. If they do so through high school, they earn a scholarship.

This coming week, 82 students will sign their Take Stock contracts and be paired with a volunteer mentor.

Since 1999, 617 Monroe County Take Stock students graduated high school. After graduating 54 seniors last year, the middle and high school enrollment dropped to 214. Adding the 82 will push the current enrollment to 296, program coordinator Chick Licis said.

But new students cannot be taken into the program unless there is a mentor ready to match to a student. Licis said 49 new Take Stock students in Key West alone need mentors before they can join the scholarship program.

Who can be a mentor? Mentors are not tutors or counselors; they are adults who volunteer their time to meet with a student on campus during the school day once a week for 45 minutes. They are screened and background checks are done.

To learn more about Take Stock in Children Monroe County or if you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact the Take Stock in Children office at (305) 293-1546 or by email at chuck.licis@keysschools.com.

The latest Take Stock contracts to be signed by students are scheduled for Monday at Horace O’Bryant School, Key West High School and Sigsbee Charter. Tuesday, signings are at Key Largo School, Coral Shores High and Plantation Key School. Wednesday, they are at Marathon Middle/High School. And Thursday, contracts are signed at Sugarloaf School.

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