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First graduating class of Rowan County Crosby Scholars

The Rowan County Crosby Scholars Community Partnership is a non-profit organization that helps public middle school and high school students in Rowan County prepare for the future.

Rowan Crosby Scholars has a big year ahead — this will be their first graduating class. There are more than 200 graduating seniors in the program this year.

The Crosby Scholars Community Partnership started in Rowan in January 2013. For the 2013-2014 school year, there were about 1,700 students who applied to the program. Last school year, there were around 2,300 students who applied. The organization expects participation to increase for this year and is expanding its office space.

Students can apply from the time they are in sixth grade to the time they are in 10th grade. Applications are being accepted this year from Aug. 15 to Oct. 1. Jennifer Canipe, executive director at Crosby Scholars, elaborated on some of the requirements for the program. She explained that students are required to attend academies, volunteer for two hours of community service, maintain good citizenship within their school, keep at least a 2.0 grade point average and have a random drug screen in high school.

Canipe explained that they begin with middle schoolers and work to “emphasize choices and consequences and how they can impact their future” in college and a career.

Once students are in the eighth grade, they attend college tours with Crosby Scholars. Canipe said that they recently took a tour of Livingstone College and visited Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and sat in on some classes. Rowan Crosby Scholars works hard, she said, to get its middle schoolers exposed to college and show them its importance for a future career. There are a series of academies middle schoolers can attend such as note taking, personality types and transitioning to high school.

As Crosby Scholar students get into high school, they are offered a free ACT prep class, which is limited to 25 students. By their junior and senior year, students receive assistance on reviewing ACT and SAT scores, choosing and applying to colleges and applying for scholarships.

The seniors this year will begin having monthly one-on-one meetings with an adviser in September. “We walk them through the college admission process” and “consider it a capstone of the program,” said Canipe. She also said to help seniors choose a college they “look at the best match and fit for each student economically, academically and socially.”

The Crosby Scholars Last Dollar Grant is offered to seniors with financial need after filing their federal student aid forms. There will be an event called BBQ, Bands, and Boots to raise money for the grant that will be offered to eligible graduating students. Students are able to apply each year for up to $1,000 for up to four years.

“We’ve been blessed with community support” said Canipe. On May 1, 2016, Rowan Crosby Scholars will have a College Decision Day where they will have their first senior gala and announce the colleges the seniors will be attending.

Robbie Bergstone is the Rowan Crosby Scholars student president for Salisbury High School. Bergstone is among the first seniors to graduate as a participant in Crosby Scholars. He joined Crosby Scholars his sophomore year of high school when the organization came to speak to students about the opportunity to join.

“They talked to us about it and said that it was really helpful as far as getting you ready for college” he said. It was in a grade adviser meeting that an election was held for the Crosby Scholars student officers.

“I ran and won” said Bergstone. “I thought I could help them get organized.”

When asked if he would recommend the program to other students, Bergstone replied, “Definitely. It really helps out if you don’t know what you’re going to do for college.”

As a senior, Bergstone looks forward to “playing my last football game and getting to do everything one last time before we go to college.”

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