Tuesday is statewide signing day in Georgia, but it's not for athletes. It's for the REACH mentorship and scholarship program that stands for Realizing Educational Achievement Can Happen.

Eight Bibb County students from Appling Middle School and Ballard-Hudson Middle School are Bibb County's first REACH scholars. “It's a great honor to be selected for one of the REACH program scholars,” said Appling Principal Christopher Ridley.

Students like Alivia Johnson said it's a dream come true. “I'm excited and grateful, but most of all, I'm proud of myself,” said Johnson. Johnson said she's determined to work hard in school and prepare for college. “I maintain my grades and my behavior.”

Thanks to the REACH mentorship and scholarship program, Johnson’s hard work is paying off. “We all know that money is an issue when students go off to college or want to go to college,” said Ridley. “This is a sure way that they can go off to college and become the productive citizens that we need them to be in our society.”

REACH scholars who graduate from high school will receive a $10,000 scholarship.
Johnson's mom, Laurie Hughes says this opportunity is incredible. “It's an opportunity that I believe Alivia couldn't get if it weren't for this scholarship,” said Hughes.

The students joined Governor Nathan Deal’s mentorship program, making a pledge to stay focused in school and have good behavior. Governor Deal spoke to the scholars at the ceremony. “We have about 685 scholars now,” said Deal. “Our goal is to have 2,800 REACH scholars in every one of our school districts signed up to participate in the program by 2020. So we're well on our way.”

Governor Nathan Deal started the REACH program in 2012. It's a needs-based mentorship program with more than 600 students participating in Georgia.