MT. VERNON, Ill. (Jan. 22, 2014) – Big changes are in the future as high school graduation nears for the seniors at Mt. Vernon Township High School, and for the students in the STRIVE Program, that means starting the college process now.
The STRIVE Program, sponsored by the two Rotary Clubs in Mt. Vernon and the Rend Lake College Foundation, is designed to encourage seniors at MVTHS to improve on grades and attendance during their last year. Two students who have the best improvement in grades and attendance are awarded one-year full scholarships to RLC through the Foundation.
During January’s monthly meeting, Shawna Manion, Rend Lake College Foundation CEO, and Jason Swann, Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Management, spoke to the students about continuing their education in community college and taking advantage of financial aid. The duo informed students of upcoming deadlines, application processes and much more.
Manion, who also serves as the Rotary West Club President, encouraged the students to reach out to adult mentors in college and to apply for every scholarship they can, including the Foundation application, which is due Feb. 28.
“Jason and I want for you to understand that if you need someone to help you, to ask questions or to get advice, you already have two people at RLC that you know.” Manion said. “It’s an amazing concept that people that have never met you have been generous enough to donate money towards your education; they have faith in you, and want you to succeed, and all you have to do is apply.”
Swann added that the faculty and staff at RLC are ready to help students who ask.
“The key of the future is to go to college, not only to have a high school diploma,” said Swann. “This college process is about you and the only person who is truly going to push you through is you. You decide where you’re going to go next. You have people who will help you, and at Rend Lake College, we’re here to facilitate that.”
Two other speakers included Dennis McEnaney, Rotary Member and Mt. Vernon City Council member, and Mary Ellen Bechtel, Director of the Jefferson County Development Corporation. Speakers and local businesses regularly attend STRIVE meetings to motivate and introduce students to life after high school.
“We’re fortunate to have Rend Lake College close to our community,” said McEnaney. “They are one of the strongest community colleges in our region and there’s plenty of help for you. It’s a good step to make.”
Applications for RLC Foundation scholarships are due by Feb. 28. For more information about the scholarships, visit www.rlc.edu/foundation or call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1214.