Brightside: Next Gen Scholars

WICOMICO CO., Md. – College may be a way to further your education to achieve your dreams, but it can also cost a pretty penny. However, some organizations are making sure all students who want an opportunity to excel get just that. “Basically what that means is what can we do to help these young people succeed once they leave high school,” says Tashe Williams, Next Generation Scholars coordinator for Wicomico County.

Next Generation Scholars is a state program that provides much-needed funding for low-income Maryland high school students. Students can focus on college, career awareness, and readiness. “The reason why something like this is important is that it just helps them add some direction,” says Williams. He adds, “So we can just kind of come in there and act as an additional resource and help out with administration guidance the staff any way we can to ensure that okay these kids know what this looks like once they leave,” says Williams.

Just this year, 22 high school seniors received a full grant through the program, sending them to any college in Maryland for almost nothing but a lot of hard work and dedication. “I don’t think people realize how much of a blessing just money is in general,” says Jenna Dameus, a Senior at Wicomico High School and Ambassador for NGS.  She adds, “A lot of students in this area feel as though you know if I don’t get money for college then there’s no way I can afford that. 13 14 having this opportunity right in front of you and not reaching out for it is kind of crazy to me.”

Students like Dameus say the program found her in middle school and although she always knew she wanted to be successful, she says this program changed her outlook on her path to success. “As we continued to go to different schools, and as they talked more and as we learned more we were thinking wow this is serious, this is real this is something that we have to do 29:04 That’s when we started shifting gears from a fun field trip to this is what’s going to prepare me for my future,” she says.

Dameus tells 47 ABC, that she wants to become either an orthodontist or a reconstructive surgeon, and now with this opportunity, she says she can make it happen. “I knew I wanted to go to college at a young age, I always knew I wanted to be successful and I thought this is one way for me to do it.” Williams adds, “She is a great voice, she is that success story, she is that 4.0 student who is still an athlete and who still works who still is on the cheer team she just kind of does it all.”

We’re told the program is designed to provide students with the resources and tools to find the right path for you after high school, even if that doesn’t involve college. “I want to become a police officer, or I want to go to college so what does that look like, we just want those kids who really want to be a part of this,” says Williams.

Williams tells us, that they’ve been working with some of these students since middle school, and seeing them mature while getting these educational and financial opportunities, is the reason they do what they do. “That’s the part to where you can see and it’s like oh my goodness, you know hopefully you played some part in that throughout the years.” Williams adds, “They come to my office and they go onto their account and they’ll say oh my goodness Coach Tache, I got $20,000 a year for college and I’m like oh my goodness!”

However, even with this opportunity available, Dameus says students need to look at the bigger picture and take advantage of the help that’s right in front of them. “Ask questions, and also ask for help because without asking for help I would not have been where I’m at, at all.” She adds, “All of us being like one community and being like hey let’s do this or hey this is a good opportunity, let’s jump onto this bandwagon, let’s jump onto this boat, it’s just nice to be able to move with people you know want to have a good future as well.”

If you’re a student and want more information on the program, email Tashe Williams at tashe@mbrt.org or head to their website.

Categories: Brightside, Local News, Maryland